Lambie stars as Sharks grind out victory
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AFP) –
Patrick Lambie scored all the points for Coastal Sharks as they ground out a 21-12 victory over Southern Kings Saturday in a fiery, try-less Super 15 clash.
The Springbok fly-half succeeded with his six penalty attempts at a near-full Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in this Indian Ocean city and his drop goal off a post gave the visitors a 12-3 half-time advantage.
Kings fly-half Demetri Catrakilis also finished with a perfect goal-kicking record and his four penalties offered hope of a losing bonus point until Lambie completed the scoring in the final minute.
Victory lifted 2012 runners-up Sharks to second place on the combined table behind the Australian Brumbies and ahead of the New Zealand Waikato Chiefs, the defending champions, while the Kings remained in the top half of the table.
“I am relieved as we failed to score from a lot of opportunities and made things difficult for ourselves. Congratulations to the Kings for a gutsy showing,” Sharks centre and skipper Francois Steyn said.
Kings lock and captain Darron Nell was upbeat: “It was a good effort by the boys although we did not keep the ball in hand enough. We were very good defensively but must show more composure when attacking.”
Sharks have scored 62 points in victories over Central Cheetahs, Western Stormers and Kings and 52 of those have come from the boot of Lambie, who replaced off-form Morne Steyn as Springbok first choice last season.
But it will concern New Zealand-born coach John Plumtree that this was the second successive match in which the Durban franchise have failed to score a try after two in the opening game.
Full-back Louis Ludik did go over on 11 minutes after slick handling by JP Pietersen and Paul Jordaan put him in at the left corner, but the television match official spotted a forward pass.
Ludik came close again four minutes before the break when he was stopped just short of the line and the resulting scrum triggered a sustained bout of Sharks pressure that ended with the Lambie drop goal.
While Kings were starved of possession and made infrequent visits to Sharks territory during the opening half, a partisan crowd urged the home team to greater heights after half-time.
Although a Lambie penalty on 54 minutes extended the visitors’ lead to 15-3, the accurate boot of Catrakilis took Kings within six points nine minutes from time and there was even the hint of a dramatic win when they launched a sustained late attack.
However, replacement prop Jaco Engels was dispossessed and Sharks worked their way down the field, won a point-blank-range penalty and Lambie made no mistake.