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BBC Sport's Phil Mercer
"The Brumbies were convincing winners in the battle of Australia"
 real 14k

Saturday, 19 May, 2001, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Sharks to meet Brumbies
AJ Venter of the Sharks, middle, hands off the Cats' Johan Erasmus
The Sharks face Australia's ACT Brumbies in the final
Coastal Sharks 30-12 Golden Cats
ACT Brumbies 30-6 Queensland Reds

Butch James produced an inspirational performance to lead the Sharks to a 30-12 victory over the Cats in the second Super 12 semi-final at King's Park in Durban.

James was outstanding as the Sharks scored five tries without reply to breathe confidence into the side ahead of the Super 12 final against the Brumbies next Saturday.

His intelligent distribution alongside some delightful kicking was responsible for the tries which established the Sharks' 20-6 lead at half time.

Flanker Charl van Rensburg got the Sharks' first try in the 28th minute of the first half and added another during the second period once the Sharks had weathered a Cats onslaught.

Van Rensburg then linked successfully with fellow flanker Warren Britz for Britz to seal the victory with a conclusive try.

Only Louis Koen's boot kept the Cats in the game.


We were able to grab the few chances which came our way and turn them into points
  Sharks' captain Mark Andrews
When he kicked his fourth penalty in the 31st minute, the Cats were just eight points down, but the Sharks superior scoring power kept them clear.

Cats captain Johan Erasmus conceded that the better team had won.

"The pressure got to us today, but we'll be rooting for the Sharks next week," he said.

Mark Andrews, captain of the Sharks, paid tribute to his team.

"We had to soak up an awful lot of pressure in the second half. But we were able to grab the few chances which came our way and turn them into points," he said.

Professional performance

Earlier Australia's ACT Brumbies won the right to host the Super 12 final after they convincingly beat the Queensland Reds 30-6 in the first semi-final in Canberra.

The game was highlighted by a composed Brumbies side which saw them reach their second successive Super 12 final with plenty to spare.

The Brumbies overturned a 6-0 deficit with tries by Stirling Mortlock, Owen Finegan and Jeremy Paul.

ACT led 7-6 at half time and scored 23 points without reply in the second half.

Aussie John Eales
Eales was powerless to prevent the Brumbies
Finegan who was sin-binned for 10 minutes in the first half for stomping Reds' hooker Michael Foley, scored a critical try in the 50th minute to put the Brumbies ahead 14-6.

And hooker Jeremy Paul ensured the win with a try on 78 minutes with Wallaby fly-half Steve Larkham slotting a drop goal on full-time to extend the winning margin.

Favourites

The Reds were unlucky not to get an early try when wing Ricky Nalatu dived over in the left corner only to be called back for stepping on the touchline.

It was Elton Flatley who got the visitors first points on the board with a close-range goal but was carried off the field later in the opening period following a head injury.

Replacement fly half Shane Drahm extended the Reds' margin to 6-0 with a penalty in the 37th minute before the Brumbies hit back when Mortlock crossed in the corner.

Having finished top of the table during the regular season the Brumbies will start as favourites by playing host to the Sharks.

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See also:

19 May 01 |  Rugby Union
Double boost for Brumbies
12 May 01 |  Rugby Union
Brumbies take top spot
14 May 01 |  Rugby Union
Viljoen confirms Vos as captain
14 May 01 |  Rugby Union
Macqueen wants extra Aussie place
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