‘SHARKS GO DOWN IN THE ¼ FINALS TO A POWERFUL FRENCH SIDE’
The Sharks new they had a fight on their hands before the rematch with last years loosing finalists who were out for revenge. As expected the Pyrennes stepped up and wanted a physical encounter and made their presence felt from the kick off which lead to some scrappy play. The sharks tried to get into their stride but were smothered by some excellent pressing and hard hitting from a well drilled side resulting in a penalty to Pyrennes who took a quick tap exploited a missed tap tackle out wide to open the scoring, try converted (0:7). From the kick off Will Pilkington took a big hit and had to be substituted (Caruana) which again disrupted the Sharks rhythm – Some powerful play by the huge French No 3 created the gap for another French try which was not converted (0:12). The half finished with both side trying to score but sound defences on both side held true. From the restart the Sharks upped the tempo pressing Pyrennes into touch at the halfway line, the subsequent line out was lost and the French hooker and winger combined well to go in for a try in the corner (0:17). The Sharks re-gathered and were not beaten yet, a well worked move going from left to right and back again gave Josh the invitation he needed as he sprinted 60 metres to go in under the posts, Lloyd converted (7:17). The Sharks were now getting back to how they knew they could play and were putting some good passages of play together; however, a long speculative pass to Josh was intercepted and the French side ran in unopposed under the posts which they also converted (7:22). The Sharks still were not beaten and pressed hard the created a massive gap inside however, after crossing the line they dropped the ball in the in goal area. From the subsequent scrum good pressure caused the turnover and Jamie Caruana went in under the posts which Lloyd converted (14:22). The French side then effectively closed the game down and try as they might the Sharks could not enough clean possession to launch any more attacks. The Sharks are bitterly disappointed to have gone out in the ¼ finals as they knew they had it in themselves to go all the way, lots of what ifs and buts. That said, credit must be given to a well drilled and competitive Pyrennes side who were worthy of their win with honours being even between the two – we wish them good fortune and look forward to the rematch next year.