Durban’s Sharks earned their first Super Rugby victory in Auckland since 2012 by beating the Blues 40-63 at Eden Park.
Sharks flyhalf Robert du Preez delivered an exceptional performance as he scored 38 of the Durban side’s 63 points.
Incredibly in the 100 point plus match both teams scored six six tries each so neither side earn a bonus point.
The victory is the Sharks second this season from six matches and the Blues fourth loss from five matches played.
The difference was Du Preez’s perfect kicking as he slotted seven penalties and converted all six of the Sharks tries. He also scored one of the Sharks tries.
The victory makes the Sharks the first South African side to win outside of South Africa and is the most points the Sharks have ever scored against the Blues.
The Sharks suffered a blow before kick off as they lost in-form Akker van der Merwe and had to bring in former Springbok hooker Chiliboy Rallapelle.
The Sharks clearly didn’t feel the blow as they raced to a 7-26 lead in the first half outscoring the Blues by two tries to one and four penalties to none.
A yellow card for Sbu Nkosi in the 44th minute opened the door for the Blues as while the Sharks were a player down the hosts ran in three quick conveerted tries which put the hosts into the lead.
The Sharks were not done though as within five minutes the Sharks were back in the lead with a try from Teru Mtembu.
Six minutes later man of the match Robert du Preez crossed for the Sharks fourth try which put the South African side into a 15 point lead with 16 minutes remaining.
A yellow card for Jordan Trainor’s high tackle meant that the Blues would have a mountain to climb if they were to win and although Rieko Ioane and George Moala scored tries for the Blues the Sharks scored two more as well.
As the full time siren sounded the Blues had outscored the Sharks by six tries to five but then in extra time Curwin Bosch crossed the line for the Sharks sixth try.
In the first half Ruan Botha, Jean-Luc du Preez scored for the Sharks and Michael Collins crossed for the Blues.
The second half saw nine tries being scored. Akira Ioane was the first to score for the Blues and he was followed by Patrick Tuipulotu.
Blues first-five Stephen Perofeta dodged several Sharks tackles on his way to the tryline and his try ended a nine minute three try spell while Nkosi was in the bin.
In comparison when the Blues were reduced to 14 players the Sharks only try was scored by Kobus van Wyk.
Aside from a brief few minutes in the second half the Sharks led the scoreboard throughout and mostly due to Du Preez’s perfect kicking.
Du Preez landed seven penalties while the Blues kicked none.
Next week the Sharks travel to Napier where they will take on the Hurricanes while the Blues travel to Hamilton to play the Chiefs.
Final Score Blues 40 (7) Sharks 63 (26)
Tries – M.Collins, A.Ioane, P.Tuipulotu, S.Perofeta, R.Ioane, G.Moala
Con – S.Perofeta 3, B.Gatland
Cards – J. Trainor (64th min yellow)
Tries – R.Botha, J-L du Preez, T.Mtembu, R.du Preez, K.van Wyk, C.Bosch
Pen – R.du Preez 7
Con – R.du Preez 6
Cards – S.Nkosi (33rd min yellow)
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 1:Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 2:Angus Mabey
TMO :Ben Skeen
1. Pauliasi Manu, 2. James Parsons ©, 3. Mike Tamoaieta, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 5. Josh Goodhue, 6. Jerome Kaino, 7. Murphy Taramai, 8. Akira Ioane; 9. Sam Nock, 10. Stephen Perofeta, 11. Melani Nanai, 12. Rieko Ioane, 13. George Moala, 14. Jordan Trainor,15. Michael Collins.
Replacements: 16. Leni Apisai, 17. Ross Wright, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19. Jimmy Tupou, 20. Kara Pryor, 21.Jonathan Ruru , 22. Bryn Gatland, 23. TJ Faiane
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Rallapelle, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Tyler Paul, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Kobus van Wyk