U19 Sharks Hold off EP Kings for a Close Win

Mon, 29/09/2014 - 16:39

It was close in the end, but the Cell C Sharks Under 19s were able to pull off a 24-21 Absa Under 19 win over the visiting EP Under 19s at Growthpoint KINGS PARK on Saturday morning.

Although possession changed hands a couple of times in the opening minutes, it was the visitors who gained the early advantage with a penalty in the third minute.

But their joy was short-lived as Jean-Luc du Preez crashed over after a sustained attack and with Innocent Radebe’s conversion, they were into a 7-3 lead.

Such was the energy of the game - from both sides - that the first scrum only took place in the 15th minute, both sides looking to play exciting, attacking rugby.

Radebe showed a cool head to put his side back in front.

But, as in the first round game, every point had to be earned through sheer hard work, such was the great defence from both sides. Unfortunately, there were slim pickings, both sides also battling to maintain continuity on attack.

Although EP managed a penalty early in the second half to reduce the gap, the home side finally finished off a promising movement, sparked by Johan du Toit, younger brother of Pieter-Steph. The ball was moved down the middle, to the left, back to the middle and then to the outside right where Sphamandla Ngcobo managed to dive over. Radebe converted and they were into an eight point lead.

With the exuberance of youth comes inexperience and they would rue their excitement levels on attack that turned into turnover ball, and then conceding their first try with 15 minutes remaining.

 But it did strike action in the Cell C Under 19s as they managed to work their way back into the opposition 22. The ball was stolen from them in a somewhat dubious manner, but somehow they managed to get it back, recycle quickly, and Radebe found a gap and sauntered through for the third try, the bonus point well within reach.

But EP struck back again, a good effort closed out in the corner to reduce the score to a three point game. A slew of penalties for the visitors moved them closer to an upset result, a penalty drawing them level with two minutes remaining.

In the final minute, a penalty went the way of the home side and Radebe showed a cool head to put his side back in front. They had to negotiate an anxious few moments securing the kick-off and playing out the remaining time, but they did.

Final score:  Sharks 24 - EP Kings 21

Article via Sharksrugby.co.za

Photo via EPrugby.co.za

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