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Sharks beat Jaguares and book quarter-final berth

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The Sharks booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 20-10 defeat of the Jaguares at Kings Park, Durban.

This was no classic; it was dreary, played with no intensity or swagger, despite the result being of the utmost importance.

The game was played in poor conditions and lacked tempo; strange because the stakes were high for the hosts and the result would decide who the Argentinians would play.

The prize for finishing in eighth for the Sharks is a flight tomorrow to New Zealand where they meet the defending champion Crusaders in Christchurch, the graveyard of broken dreams.

The South Americans will stay in the Republic, playing the Lions, the previous two season’s runners-up in Johannesburg.

Robert du Preez’s men did what they had to do to qualify after the Highlanders did them a favour by beating the Rebels, the tournament’s surprise team.

Akker van der Merwe and Jacobus van Wyk scored for the hosts, but it was an attritional forwards display that won the day.

Sebastian Cancelliere scored late in the second-half to make a contest out of the final 11 minutes, but the South Africans held on for the win.

This was an important game.

The Sharks knew what they had to do after the Rebels lost: just win.

And the home team started well. Robert du Preez kicked two early penalties to give his team a six-point lead.

Both teams were struggling with their scrums, the pitch cutting up leading the referee Rasta Rasivhenge telling the players he was losing patience with all the resets and collapses.

Daniel du Preez was sent to the bin for a grass-cutter tackle and Joaquín Díaz Bonilla halved the deficit.

However, two minutes’ later, Van der Merwe broke through a driving maul, slipped a tackle and raced 25 metres – a massive distance for a prop – using his momentum, and the wet conditions, to slide over the whitewash.

Rob du Preez added the extras and the Sharks took a 10-point lead into the break.

Du Preez missed an early second-half penalty, keeping the game in the balance, but soon after, the hosts had their second five-pointer.

THE BUS IS FULL!

Van Wyk charged into the 22, bounced a defender and dotted down with two Jaguares players hanging off him.

It came from Andre Esterhuizen’s midfield break and pass, one of the few line-breaks by either side.

The game was still littered with handling errors and both teams struggled to dominate the contest.

With time running out, the visitors found their way over the whitewash.

Cancelliere chased a kick and won the race to the try-line.

It gave the South Americans hope. A slim hope, but hope nonetheless.

But it was only a tease because the hosts saw out the contest with some sturdy defending, not allowing their opponents any chance of a comeback.

Their reward: a trip to see the tournament’s greatest and most successful team. Good luck.

Sharks versus Jaguares video highlights.

Final score: Sharks 20 (13) Jaguares 10 (3)

Scorers

Sharks
Tries – Van der Merwe, Van Wyk
Pen – R. du Preez (2)
Con – R. du Preez (2)
Drop –
Cards – D. du Preez (Yellow, 19′)

Jaguares
Tries – Cancelliere
Pen – Díaz Bonilla
Con – Díaz Bonilla
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 1: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 2: Archie Sehlako
TMO: Willie Vos

Teams

Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Jacobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Makazole Mapimpi.

Jaguares: 15 Ramiro Moyano, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Sebastian Cancelliere, 10 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Javier Diaz.

Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Emiliano Boffelli.

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