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Sharks dominate sorry Sunwolves

Sbu Nkosi (L) of Sharks has overcome an injury scare and will play Super rugby this weekend

Sbu Nkosi (L) of Sharks has overcome an injury scare and will play Super rugby this weekend

The Sharks inflicted a painful 10-45 defeat on the Sunwolves at Singapore National Stadium, Singapore.

The Sharks ran in six tries, mixing brute force from their driving maul with stunning backline attacking play, to hand the Japanese a bruising loss in the island city-state.

Akker van der Merwe grabbed a brace but it was his front row partner, Springboks legend Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira who was the star.

The beast put in a destructive scrumming display reminiscent of his dismantling of Phil Vickery in the 1st Test of the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour in Durban.

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Mtawarira scrummed Sunwolves tighthead prop Asaeli Valu into the ground, winning four penalties in the process.

Flyhalf Robert du Preez put on a masterful performance with the boot, kicking five conversions and a penalty for 100% success rate.

Sunwolves start strong.

Tony Browns chargers came out firing, and for half an hour, looked the more dangerous team.

They looked to exploit the Durbanite’s back-three. Aphelele Fassi was making his debut behind Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi, who not known for their command of the high ball.

Sunwolves flyhalf – and points machine – Hayden Parker quickly went to the air with a bomb.

Fassi made no mistake, taking the ball and giving the standoff something to think about.

Using smart kicks to the corner that Nkosi and Mapimpi would have to carry into touch, ceding possession inside their 22, was Parker’s preferred choice.

Du Preez put the Sharks on the board with an early penalty, but the hosts took the lead soon afterwards.

Parker chipped deep behind the Sharks backline after a quick thinking free kick.

The ball bounced kindly for the chasing Shane Gates, who gathered the ball and raced away to score.

Semisi Masirewa caused problems with his size and pace. He harried Fassi into touch after breaking out from his own 22 and chasing his kick.

The lineout led to a penalty, which Parker duly slotted.

The Sunwolves looked dangerous every time they touched the ball and the made the visitors look ordinary as they knocked back their big ball carriers, time and again.

Brown’s side, however, could not turn half chances into points and they were punished.

Sharks’ skipper Louis Schreuder opted for an attacking lineout to give his forwards some momentum, rather than posts. It worked.

Van der Merwe found himself at the back of the driving maul and flopped down for the first of his double.

Du Preez levelled.

A rare mistake saw the Sharks’ hooker miss a lineout, Fassi lost the ball in contact and the Sunwolves sacked a maul and stole the ball, as Sharks’ errors mounted.

Schreuder’s side was growing into the game and forcing some mistakes, too.

At the half-hour mark, the South Africans upped their game. This was when the scrum – and Mtawariria – took over.

Mtawarira beasted Valu before Hendrik Tui was guilty of collapsing the resulting maul.

Having botched one driving maul attempt, then winning a penalty from the next, the Sharks kept kicking to the corner.

The penalties were starting to mount and referee Nic Berry had a word with new skipper Craig Miller about infringements in the red zone.

After several surges at the try line, Daniel du Preez stepped a defender and dived over for the score.

Robert added the extras, giving the Sharks a lead they would not surrender.

And when Nkosi finished off a sublime first phase backs’ move, the game was up.

Schreuder linked with Rob du Preez before Lukhanyo Am put the winger away. It was a thing of beauty.

Sharks coach Robert du Preez had seen his side overturn a seven-point deficit and turn it into a two converted try lead, at the break.

Whatever Du Preez Snr said to his men, it worked a treat because the Japanese side had a reputation for thrilling comebacks and beating teams from the Republic.

The tourists did not relent. Instead, they put their foot on the gas, increasing the tempo.

Rene Ranger left the field on a stretcher with what looked knee ligament damage.

Moments later, Am was at it again, this time setting up Mapimpi with a deft pass. Drawing two men, the centre gifted the wing the try.

By now, Valu had been pinged four times, the last time proved to be the final straw.

Brown introduced a new front row to stop the bleeding. But when the Sharks smell blood in the water, it only ends badly.

Masirewa thought he’d scored from an intercept, but it was rightly ruled a knock on.

Coenie Oosthuizen was getting involved, now. Sam Prattley had come on at loosehead, but he soon was penalised twice.

James Moore, who had been excellent, was sin-binned after another series of cynical infringements close to the try line.

Sunwolves players were wilting in the Singapore heat.

To make matters worse, they had not touched the ball more than a few times since the first half, and they were being battered into submission.

Van der Merwe scored his second after another ferocious driving maul.

The Sunwolves went close but knocked on before Jeremy Ward supplied the final dagger to cap an impressive away victory for the men in black.

Job, done for Du Preez Snr and his charges. They will be happy to start the new campaign with an away win against a tricky opponent.

For Brown and Co, it’s back to the drawing board. 

Final score: Sunwolves 10 (10) Sharks 45 (24)


Tries – Gates
Pen – Parker
Con – Parker
Drop –
Cards – MOORE (Yellow, 61st’)

Tries – Van der Merwe (2), D. Du Preez, Nkosi, Mapimpi, Ward
Pen – R. Du Preez
Con – R. Du Preez (5), Smith
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: AJ Jacobs
TMO: Minoru Fuji



15 Gerhard van den Heever, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Shane Gates, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Ed Quirk, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 James Moore, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Asaeli Valu, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Craig Millar (c)

Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Awe Helu, 20 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Michael Little


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

Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Rhyno Smith, 23 Jeremy Ward

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