Boot of Griquas' Vogt sinks Sharks

Griqualand West fullback Rudi Vogt kicked 23 points as defending champions Sharks suffered their first Currie Cup defeat of the season when losing 43-22 in Kimberley on Friday.

No visitors relish playing on a rock-hard pitch in the chilly Nothern Cape diamond city and Sharks were second best for most of the match despite being bolstered by the return of three Springboks after Tri-Nations duty.

Fly-half Patrick Lambie, scrum-half Charl McLeod and number eight Ryan Kankowski came on early in the second half after New Zealand-born coach John Plumtree started with the side that had won their opening three matches.

But a star-less Griquas side outscored Sharks by four tries to one to claim a bonus point and had a match-winner in recently promoted Vogt, who did not miss a kick at goal as he landed four conversions and five penalties.

All five tries in the game were scored by forwards with hooker Ryno Barnes, lock Hendrik Roodt, prop Lourens Adriaanse and flank Jonathan Mokuena dotting down for Griquas and hooker Craig Burden for Sharks.

Former France fly-half Frederic Michalak raised his season points tally to 67 with three first-half penalties and a conversion which helped Sharks lead 16-14 at half-time.

Michalak gave way to Lambie 10 minutes into the second half and the young contender for a place in the South Africa Rugby World Cup squad succeeded with both his penalty attempts on a night when none of the three goal kickers missed.

The try of the night came midway through the first half when Roodt brushed off much lighter Sharks wing Mark Richards to dive over after superb Griquas ball retention in a 24-phase assault.

After losing all 14 league matches last year and the first three this season in the South African championship, Platinum Leopards finally savoured success with a 27-15 home win over fellow strugglers Mpumalanga Pumas in Potchefstroom.

Promoted fly-half Wesley Dunlop repaid the faith of coach Leon Boshoff by kicking two penalties and converting tries from wing Danie Dames, fullback George Tossel and flank Luvuyiso Lusaseni.

Leaders Golden Lions face their first big test when they make the 60-kilometre journey north from Johannesburg to Pretoria for a Highveld derby against Blue Bulls while Free State Cheetahs host Western Province in Bloemfontein.—Sapa-AFP

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