The Sharks have put on a brilliant defensive display to hang on for a close three point win over the Brumbies and leave Canberra with a four try bonus point to kick start their tour.
It was another close game that went right down to the final whistle when the Brumbies were threatening to snatch the win from the jaws of of the Sharks but was snuffed out due to poor execution which was the order of the night for the home side.
The Brumbies looked to try and play the same game that was successful over the Highlanders in their previous match, but some poor kicking was able to give the visitors possession in crucial areas of the field. The Sharks pressured the Brumbies inside their own 22 area but were lucky to score in the corner from fullback Riaan Viljoen after it appeared scum half Charl McLeod knocked on from a tap kick on the back of another penalty.
Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg was finding out the hard way how a kicking game can work with some poor kicks that went out on the full but he somewhat made up for it with a neat chip kick and regather to score under the posts to get the Brumbies first 5 pointer of the night.
The Brumbies were then unlucky not to further their try tally but the Sharks turned the game with an intercept from Springbok winger Odwa Ndungane who then linked up with Viljoen to scored his second try of the night.
The home side went to the sheds with a slender 16-15 lead on the back of some flawless kicking from Christian Lealiifano.
The second half was grinding affair through the forwards and the Sharks experience showed with some great play from their Springbok contingent especially in the ruck where turn overs and penalties were going in their favour.
The Sharks opened the second half scoring again after pressuring winger Henry Speight into a mistake right on his own line and flanker Willem Alberts was able to collect the ball and dive over from close range to put his side back in front.
Not long after, the Brumbies suffered a huge blow when fly half Matt Toomua, who was returning from a knee injury, went down when on attack and appears he could be out for some time after suffering an injury to his left knee. The Brumbies were then forced into using their bench earlier than expected which forced a reshuffle in their backline.
The Brumbies didn’t appear too concerned by the change and went on the attack but not for the first time an error whilst on attack, this time right on the Sharks line, saw lock Steven Sykes make a break down the left wing and he managed to link up with Lwazi Mvovo who went over to collect the bonus point.
The Brumbies could have closed the gap, except replacement prop Scott Sio lost the ball right on the line and the Sharks were able to breathe a sigh of relief.
As the clock ticked down, the Brumbies were spending time camped in the Sharks 22 and the visitors defensive display in this part of the match was impressive however they switched off right at the end and allowed replacement scrum half Nic White to scamper over for a try to put the fans on the edge of their seats.
With the final siren already sounded, the Brumbies launched one last attack that saw them end up in the Sharks half. The phases were building but once again poor execution let them down as the ball was lost and the Sharks held on for their first win in Canberra since 1998.
The Brumbies gained 1 competition point to remain top of the Australian conference and head to Brisbane next week to take on Queensland who will be looking to bounce back after getting smashed 45-19 by the Western Force in the late game and is shaping as a crucial match for both sides.
Shorks 29 – Viljoen 2, Alberts, Mvovo tries; Michalak 3 cons, pen def Brumbies 26 – Mogg, White tries, Lealiifano 2 cons, 4 pens