Sport / Rugby

Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
4 Mar 2017
12:50 pm

Hard-working Lukhanyo Am steals it for the Sharks in Canberra

Heinz Schenk

The upcoming outside centre scores the winning try for the Durbanites, who play the pressure moments better against the Brumbies.

Lukhanyo Am worked hard in Canberra and was suitably rewarded. Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images.

Sometimes a glamorous position like outside centre is not as exciting as it sounds.

For 81 minutes, that’s exactly how Lukhanyo Am must’ve felt in Canberra on Saturday.

The Sharks’ No 13 tackled hard in midfield and at times looked like a flanker as he forced three turnovers.

But the 23-year-old from King William’s Town would be rewarded in a most appropriate way for his willingness to do the donkey work.

It was Am that scored the winning try as the Sharks stole a 27-22 victory over a stunned Brumbies.

Finishes don’t come more classic than this one.

With the score tied at 22-all and 30 seconds left, the Dubanites had possession on about the halfway line.

Flyhalf and skipper Pat Lambie attacked the line initially before the Sharks decided to spread the ball wide.

It found its way to 19-year-old prodigy Curwin Bosch, who ran a great line against the touchline.

Running into defenders, the replacement fullback launched a fabulous grubber.

Brumbies wing James Dargaville comically couldn’t gather and Am pounced.

It was a testament to the Sharks’ ability to play the pressure moments better, something they didn’t do last week against the Reds.

In fact, they should actually thank their locks for creating enough confusion at the last line-out that eventually led to the turnover possession.

Coach Robert du Preez will be really encouraged by this victory.

The Sharks at one stage were behind by 3-15 as the Brumbies crossed the whitewash twice.

Yet the overall inexperience of the home side’s line-up began to show as they conceded a stream of penalties.

Lambie obliged with five penalties.

The Sharks also used their ball-carrying flankers – Philip van der Walt and Jean-Luc du Preez – to good effect as they created far more play than seven days ago in Brisbane.

Flame-haired Van der Walt is one of South Africa’s early stars in this year’s tournament.

He made 12 tackles (to add to his 23 in the first round) and ran 59m with ball in hand.

The 27-year-old is truly underrated.

One of the Sharks’ other strengths is the way experienced props Beast Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen have upped their work rates.

Mtawarira was also the beneficiary of a rare try as the Sharks had everyone smiling afterwards.

Point scorers: Sharks 27 (13) – Tries: Beast Mtawarira, Lukhanyo Am. Conversion: Pat Lambie. Penalties: Lambie (5). Brumbies 22 (15) – Tries: Henry Speight, Josh Mann-Rea, Tevita Kuridrani. Conversions: Wharenui Hawera, Isaac Thompson. Penalty: Hawera.

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