Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Hurricanes and Sharks nailbiter from Wellington

The Hurricanes and Sharks nailbiter from Wellington

The Hurricanes and the Sharks couldnt be separated on the score sheet with 30 seconds left in their Super 14 meeting at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on the weekend. To avoid the spoiler, stop reading now and skip to the clip.

Ruan Piennar put in a great individual display as he answered his critics by staying composed late in the game, bringing back memories of that classic encounter between the Sharks and the Crusaders in Durban a few seasons back.

He kicked 19 points with seven out of eight kicks at goal, including the winning penalty kick from 49 meters out with time up. His return to form is much appreciated by the struggling Sharks, who lost their first five matches of this years campaign.

"I don't believe he is as strong mentally as we'd all love him to be," Springbok coach Peter De Villiers said when speaking about Pienaar recently.

"He has everything when it comes to skills and talent, but he seems to be missing that one little thing between the ears that could make him the great Springbok that I thought he'd be by now.

"Some people are motivated internally, but I think Ruan thrives on external motivation. He needs constant reassurance, and responds well to praise, whereas a guy like Morne Steyn is the opposite, he explained.

Young fullback Patrick Lambie scored early on for the Sharks as they got out to a lead before Pienaar and Wilie Ripia exchanged penalties, with the visitors going into the break with a 13-6 lead. Piri Weepu then came on and slotted two kicks.

JP Pietersen then finished off an excellent flowing movement that had all the hallmarks of a classic Sharks try of old. Despite the lead, Maa Nonu and the Hurricanes struck back, and while Pienaar kept slotting his kicks, they later equalized with a Victor Vito try and excellent Weepu conversion, taking the scores to 26-26.

A penalty was then awarded to the Sharks near the halfway line, and as the hooter sounded, Pienaar coolly slotted the kick under massive pressure, giving the Sharks the 29-26 win.

"Pretty happy when a boy stands up like that to take the kick. I saw him leaning to the left (watching the flight of the ball) and nearly had a heart attack," said Sharks captain John Smit afterwards.

Time: 05:56

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