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Sharks too hot for Blues

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The Sharks suffocated the Blues 26-7 in the heat and humidity at Kings Park, Durban.

It was a game littered with errors, especially in the second half, but the damage was done in the first when the Sharks scored three times to take a 19-point advantage into the break.

The Blues did not pitch up, struggling to string any phases together as they toiled in the sun.

Tries from Aphelele Fassi, Akker van der Merwe and Robert du Preez Jnr gave the men in black an ominous three-try lead.


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Leon MacDonald’s side had no answers and looked dead on their feet, battling the elements as well as the slippery ball.

Patrick Tuipulotu’s team did manage to get on the scoreboard in the 62nd-minute, but it was too little, too late, paying for a poor hour of football.

Bosch finished the New Zealanders off with an 80-metre interception in the dying seconds.

Clinical Sharks take control with two-try blitz inside the opening quarter

The Durban side didn’t look weary after travelling back from Japan as they rocked the Blues in the seventh and 15th minute.

Lukhanyo Am, from which all good things come for the Sharks, sparkled. A botched Blues lineout saw the Sharks quickly go wide.

Am’s grubber was kept in by some fancy footwork from speedster Makazole Mapimpi. The flyer gathered his kick and offloaded to Fassi on his inside for a sensational score.

The lead doubled, soon afterwards. The Sharks’ forwards were gaining a stranglehold on the game and they were rewarded when Van der Merwe crashed over from a powerful driving maul.

There was space in the wide channels and the hosts looked to exploit the Aucklanders, going wide with every opportunity.

Video Highlights: Sharks versus Blues

The Blues were struggling with the pace and intensity of the home team, conceding penalties and making handling errors inside their half.

They had little territory and even less of the ball, while their opponent’s only trouble was finishing off opportunities.

Ofa Tu’ungafasi collapsed another rolling maul and would have been yellow carded if Rob du Preez did not dance through two defenders and score under the posts at the end of the half

Second half struggles

For some reason, the Sharks did not extend their lead despite having more chances.

They spurned an opportunity late in the first stanza and needed to make a rearguard to keep the tourists scoreless.

The lethargy and poor decision-making plagued the men in black after the interval and the Blues enjoyed more of the ball.

However, chances were continually squandered. Bosch bungled a certain try with a lazy pass. Andre Esterhuizen knocked on, killing another good opportunity, soon afterwards.

The Sharks were winning the collisions, but some wayward throws from Van der Merwe and a knock on from their flyhalf kept the Blues in with a sniff.

Otara Black thought he’s scored after some good work off the back of the scrum.

Akira Ioane and Sonny Bill Williams combined to put the stand-off away, but a dubious obstruction call by South African TMO Marius Jonker, stymied the visitors.

It didn’t take long for the Blues to finally get their try. Tanielu Tele’a collected Black’s long floated pass and slipped Bosch’s weak tackle attempt to put his team on the board.

The 14-man Sharks hold on for a deserved victory

Serial offender Ruan Botha was sin-binned for two cynical infringements with 11 minutes remaining.

It was the hosts who looked ragged, spending the end of the game camped inside their 22.

Somehow, they held on, gritting out a result with some stubborn defending and the coup de grâce from Bosch.

Final Score: Sharks 26 (19) Blues 7 (0)

Scorers

Sharks
Tries – Fassi, Van der Merwe, R. Du Preez, Bosch
Pen –
Con – R. Du Preez (3)
Drop –
Cards – Botha (Yellow, 68′)

Blues
Tries – Tele’a
Pen –
Con – Black
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Ref 2: Griffon Colby
TMO: Marius Jonker

Teams:

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Curwin Bosch.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Thomas Faiane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Otere Black, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.

Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Matt Matich, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Tanielu Tele’a.

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