Sharks find their bite late in the game to deny Quins
5 February 2003 17:59pm
A fabulous fight back from the Sharks denied NEC Harlequins a famous victory over the South African Super 12 outfit, who scored five tries and 29 unanswered points in the last 22 minutes to finish victorious by 32-19 in an entertaining game at the Stoop.
The Sharks opened the scoring with eight minutes on the clock. Scrum half Neil Powell took a quick tap from a penalty and fed winger Stefan Terblanche, who made ground down the left and into the Quins twenty-two. Slow ball materialised forcing Terblanche, who had moved into the midfield, to opt for three points with a drop goal.
However, it was Quins who then dominated proceedings for the remainder of the half and their efforts were rewarded after 22 minutes. After recycling possession through various phases of play, Tani Fuga chipped the ball over the Sharks defence, which Luke Sherriff gathered and powered his way over from close range. Nathan Williams converted to put the home side 7-3 in front.
Just two minutes before the interval, Williams raced over for Quins second try. With the Sharks taking play up to halfway, Rob Jewell opted for a quick lineout throw to the Quins full back. Catching the Sharks defence totally by surprise, Williams had a clear run to the line to score in the left hand corner for a try that he also converted from wide out, which gave the home side a 14-3 lead at half-time.
Quins then put further daylight between the two sides on the scoreboard when Williams went over for his second try after 55 minutes. Jon Dawson made an excellent break deep into the Sharks twenty-two and with quick ball materialising, Williams gratefully accepted a try scoring pass from David Slemen. Williams failed to convert but by leading 19-3, Quins were now three scores ahead.
Terblanche then started the try scoring for the Sharks three minutes later, and Butch James cut the deficit to six points with the visitors second score (19-13) after 64 minutes. With the Sharks now in the ascendancy, a try from Lukas van Biljon with 11 minutes remaining, which was converted by Terblanche, put the Sharks back in front, as Quins started to tire and run out of gas.
Victory for the Sharks was secured when full back Ricardo Loubscher went over for a try by the posts and Herkie Kruger added the two extra points on offer. Then with the game in injury time, Loubscher went over in the right hand corner for his second try that completed the scoring and gave the Sharks a somewhat flattering margin of victory.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.