South African side sneak home against the Western Force.
South Africa’s Sharks overcame a slow start to beat the Western Force in their Super 15 rugby clash in Perth to win 23-13. .
The Force dominated the early stages and led at the halfway mark, but one second-half try to the Sharks was enough to get them across the line for the important victory.
It ended a frustrating five-game losing streak for the Sharks, who kept their slim finals chances alive with the victory.
Down 10-7 at the break, the Sharks levelled the score early in the second half thanks to the boot of Pat Lambie, who made five from seven for the match, with a penalty in the 45th minute.
Five minutes later, Lambie slotted another penalty to put his side in front.
The Force were determined to avoid another close loss at home and levelled through a penalty of their own to Jayden Hayward.
However, the Sharks made the pivotal move when they opened up the Force defence with the ball ending up with a pass to the damaging Riaan Viljoen, who burst through several tackles to dive over and give his side the lead again in the 62nd minute.
Lambie’s conversion put them a converted try ahead and fully punished the Force for an error a few minutes earlier, when they knocked on only three metres from the try line.
Although Lambie missed a penalty a few minutes later, he made amends in the 75th minute to seal the win for the Sharks.
The Force played poorly in the second half, and were left ruing their inability to capitalise on a great start, when they dominated early possession but conceded the first try of the match to the Sharks’ Keegan Daniel in the 23rd minute.
However, the Force did strike back through Kyle Godwin in the 31st minute and deserved their lead at the break.
Sharks captain Daniel said it was a much-needed win based more on determination than great form.
“We were under a lot of pressure this week,” he said.
“That was guts and effort.”
Daniel said the Sharks were confident they could outlast the Force.
“We knew we have been strong in the second half of games and that’s what happened tonight,” he said.
“We are very happy with that win.”
Force captain Matt Hodgson said his side lacked patience, especially straight after the resumption.
“We got frustrated with ourselves,” he said.
“We didn’t stick to our game plan in the first 20 minutes of the second half and they made us pay.”