Super Rugby

Sharks beat Blues in Durban

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The Sharks have played the Blues 20 times in Super Rugby since 1998, winning 15 matches.

There have been no draws between the teams; the overall average score is Sharks 27 Blues 22.

  • The Sharks have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Blues, those victories coming by an average margin of 10 points per game.
  • Head Coach Robert du Preez’s men have won their last five games at home, despite leading at half-time just twice in this span.
  • The Auckland outfit fell to three defeats in their last three matches; they have not lost four on the bounce since April 2015 when they lost nine in a row.
  • The Sharks were the top scorers in Round One, crossing for six converted tries, they also missed fewer tackles (9) than any other side.
  • Akira Ioane has now gained 100+ metres in two of his last four games for the Blues – his 20 carries last week was the second most he has made in a Super Rugby match, whilst his 100 metres was the most by any forward in Round One.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kickoff.

1.00: PEEEEP! We have kicked off in a hot and humid Kings Park.


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2.00: A side entry from the Blues results in a penalty. Rob du Preez kicks to the corner.

4.00: Jonathan Ruru’s kick clears the danger after Akker van der Merwe’s foot in touch stopped a promising Sharks’ attack.

7.00: TRY! Aphelele Fassi finishes off a wonderful counter-attack. A botched Blues lineout saw the Sharks quickly go wide. Lukhanyo Am put in a grubber that was only kept in by some fancy footwork from speedster Makazole Mapimpi. He gathered his kick and offloaded to Fassi on his inside. Sensational! 5-0

9.00: MISS! Du Preez misfires from the touchline. 5-0

11.00: The Sharks use the boot more than any other franchise, according to the stats, and they employ the grubber as well as any professional side, be it at club, provincial or international level.

15.00: TRY! The hooker gets his try after another powerful driving maul. The Blues are under the pump in Durban. 10-0

17.00: CONVERSION! Du Preez splits the uprights. 12-0

19.00: The Blues are not accustomed to this heat, but they need to get some possession and get into this match.

22.00: Oh no, the Kiwis turn the ball over, and the hosts get out of the danger zone.

24.00: The Sharks are going wide at every opportunity and exploiting the wide channels. Am and Andre Esterhuizen are quick to counter whenever their team win a turnover. Blues are struggling with the home team’s outside backs, too.

25.00: The New Zealanders stop a Sharks’ driving maul and win an important turnover, on their line.

27.00: ‘Beast’ Mtawarira is caught from behind, short of the try line. The Blues are on their line, struggling to get out because mistakes are mounting. Fassi’s counter-attack, combining with Sbu Nkosi, has given the hosts a good opportunity for some daylight.

28.00: The Blues are struggling; hands on hips, bent over and drinking lots of water. Scrum to the Sharks 10 metres in from touch.

29.00: That’s poor from the men in black and white. Another opportunity is lost.

30.00: “Terrible kick!” says referee Paul Williams to Sonny Bill Williams after the centre ripped the ball from an attacker. But the All Black World Cup-winner’s kick was fluffed.

31.00: Unfortunately for the visitors, a counter-attack breaks down because of a forward pass. Curwin Bosch comes on for Nkosi, who has left the field for on a stretcher. Bosch goes to fullback and Fassi to the wing.

32.00: Nkosi gave the crowd a wave as he was being driven into the tunnel.

34.00: Play has stopped because of a neck-roll by Dalton Papalii on Coenie Oosthuizen. It was dangerous, but TMO Marius Jonker tells Mr Williams to stick with a penalty, only. There is a little scuffle off the ball between Oosthuizen, Rieko Ioane and Esterhuizen. The ref tells Louis Schreuder to speak to his men. Penalty to the sharks after all that. Jesus!

35.00: Ofa Tu’ungafasi collapses the rolling maul. The referee infers that another cynical collapse will result in a card.

37.00: TRY! The drive sucked in Williams allowing Rob du Preez to dance between the posts. The Blues defended the maul, well and were lucky not to receive a yellow for another infringement. 17-0

38.00: CONVERSION! The flyhalf converts his try. 19-0

39.00: Collins fluffs the restart. His forwards then proceed to give away a scrum-penalty. Du Preez kicks to the corner.

40.00: LINEOUT STEAL! Good work by the Blues. They win the turnover and Sonny Bill puts in a cheeky cross-kick – as the hooter blasts out – and the tourists win a penalty at the breakdown after Collins took the kick.

43.00: A very disappointing end for the Kiwis. They had a good opportunity with a lineout on the opposition’s 5m, but they knock-on. The Durbanites got out of jail.

The halftime score was Sharks 19 Blues ZERO

The Kwa-Zulu Natal side has dominated territory (58%) and possession (68%), have made fewer tackles and handling mistakes. The last 20 minutes will be critical, especially because of the heat and humidity on the east coast.

The Blues need to get some possession to put the home team under pressure or they will have no chance to overturn this deficit.

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Durban, South Africa, where the home town team is dominating all facets of the contest. 

43.00: Jacques Vermeulen wins the ball after two Blues players run into each other. The Sharks go wide and Mapimpi decides to go with a chip-kick into the space behind the tourists’ back three. Curwin Bosch collects, races forward, draws his man… then passes a no-look pass into touch. It was harder not to score than to do that. Terrible.

46.00: Some inexperience from Fassi, playing out of position since Nkosi left the pitch, going offsides and releasing the pressure.

48.00: Am cruises past Ioane and sets Mapimpi away. The winger plays a reverse pass into the hands of Bosch, who does the same for Esterhuizen. Unfortunately, the centre loses the ball forward when it looked easier to score.

50.00: The Sharks win a penalty at the breakdown. They are starting to win the collisions at the gain line. They also employ the kicking game again, this time the captain hits a grubber box-kick for Mapimpi, but the Kiwis gather and try run out of danger. Instead, the give up a penalty.

52.00: Van der Merwe’s lineout throw is not accurate, and he again gives away an attacking opportunity close to the Blues’ try line.

54.00: Robert du Preez Snr empties his bench.

55.00: Robert Jnr knocks on from the Blues’ lineout, giving the visitors a golden opportunity to get on the board.

56.00: TRY? Oh so easy! Akira Ioane breaks off the scrum, plays Sonny Bill and the centre puts Otere Black away, under the posts. The TMO is checking for a knock-on and an obstruction, both against the Kiwis. NO TRY! Wow! That’s a home town call from TMO Jonker if I’ve ever seen it. But it’s not like he’s not known for a dodgy call. Sharks dodge a bullet. 19-0, still.

59.00: Thomas du Toit gives away a silly penalty for kicking the ball while it was still in the ruck.

62.00: TRY! Tanielu Tele’a takes Black’s long floated pass and beats his man to – finally – put his team on the board. 19-5

63.00: CONVERSION! Black adds the extras. 19-7

66.00: Ruan Botha collapses the driving maul. Penalty, scrum. The hosts are reeling, late in this game.

68.00: YELLOW CARD! Botha, this time, will not escape the ref’s ire. He’s in the bin.

71.00: The Blues kick the ball away, and it is dotted down for a 22-drop.

75.00: The home team, despite a man in the bin and looking ragged, are holding on, not letting the New Zealanders cross their try line.

76.00: More disciplined defence pays off with a scrum after another knock-on by the tourists.

77.00: BIG MISTAKE by Cameron Wright. The reserve scrumhalf gives away possession with some impatience at the base of the set-piece.

79.00: TRY! And GAME OVER! Bosch intercepts and speeds away 80 metres to finish off the wilted Kiwis. 24-7

80.00: CONVERSION! Du Preez makes no mistake. 26-7

FULL TIME

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The final score is 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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