Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The Natal Sharks sunk to their fourth straight defeat as they went down 25-21 to the Waratahs in the Super 14 on the weekend. The result may have been different though if it werent for Kurtley Beales hand of god intervention.
With time almost up, the Sharks threw everything into attack and managed to create an overlap with speedster Ryan Kankowski out wide unmarked, with the try line in sight. As Stefan Terblanche released the pass Beale stuck out a flailing left arm, knocking the ball away.
Referee Paul Marks instantly penalised Beale and sent him to the sin-bin, but didnt consider the option of a penalty try, which has incensed the Sharks as they felt that Beale prevented Kankowski from galloping in for a try, as he did in the first half when he outpaced a winger.
"There were some big decisions that went against us and they seriously cost us," said coach John Plumtree, who described it as a 'cynical piece of play from Kurtley Beale'.
"That was Ryan Kankowski, who runs quicker than a wing and he would have skated in there and that was the game.
"It was close but unfortunately thats how it goes with these refs. It happens and we're not focusing on it in our post-match analysis," he added.
Beale himself has insisted that he did not deliberately slap down the pass.
"I just saw it was two-on-one and tried to go for the intercept and hit the ball up. If I hadn't hit the ball up, it was going to be a try and it would have been a totally different story," he said.
The Sharks travel to Canberra next to face the Brumbies and will naturally be hoping to get off their dismal 12th placing on the log. Theyre sticking with the combincation of Englands Andy Goode at flyhalf, with Ruan Pienaar at number nine.
Theyll be hoping Goode stays on the field this time though, as he has now played two matches, and been yellow carded not once, but twice. The Sharks actually played with 13 men at one stage, after prop Jannie Du Plessis was also sent to the sin-bin.
Ironically, they played their best rugby during that period in the match, leading to coach Plumtree being asked if hed like to start the match with 13 men next week.
"You are allowed to start the game with 13 but Im not sure youre allowed to start with 16," he responded.
Do you think the decision to not award the penalty try was correct?
Andy Goode's yellow card on Super 14 debut