Six minutes into the Sharks’ Super Rugby meeting with the Waratahs, South African rugby groaned as Pat Lambie went off after six minutes with a groin injury.
One could feel the despair.
Springbok rugby needed the influential flyhalf to build on a decent start to the season after last year’s troubles.
74 minutes later, the gloom was lifted as his replacement, Curwin Bosch, inspired the Durbanites to an excellent 37-14 win at Kings Park on Saturday evening.
The 19-year-old prodigy was simply outstanding, contributing 27 points on his own and showing the type of authority very rare in a player his age.
It was Bosch that gave the Sharks the advantage they would never relinquish after his instincts led to an intercept try.
And, of course, his goal-kicking was ruthless.
But this win wasn’t all about Bosch.
This was a collective triumph, one where the Sharks actually showed again that a balanced game-plan is hardly irrelevant.
In a season where South Africa sides are keen to play running, attacking rugby, coach Robert du Preez has decided on a formula that will gradually get the Sharks there.
Their structure on defence was outstanding and used as a weapon for keeping the scoreboard ticking.
Importantly in the national context too, it seems that the Springbok props Beast Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen are reaching their best form.
As a result, the scrums are providing the Sharks a good platform while lock Ruan Botha is emerging as a very classy line-out man.
But it’s the powerful loose trio of Philip van der Walt, Jean-Luc du Preez and Tera Mtembu that’s making the headlines.
All three were magnificent all-round again, carrying the ball effectively and marking opposition runners ruthlessly.
Du Preez will be disappointed with a tame second half performance as errors crept in and the backline struggled for rhythm.
Yet that’s easily something the Sharks can rectify, especially if this backline can stay intact.
Point scorers: Sharks (31) – Tries: Tera Mtembu, Curwin Bosch, Kobus van Wyk. Conversions: Bosch (2). Penalties: Bosch (6). Waratahs (7) – Tries: Israel Folau (2). Conversions: Reece Robinson (2).