The final match of the 12th round in Super Rugby 2018 is in Durban where the Sharks host the Highlanders.
The Sharks have played the Highlanders 19 times in Super Rugby. They have won 11 matches and lost eight which gives them a record of winning 58% of their matches.
- The Sharks have won four of their last five games at home against the Highlanders; though, this will be the first time they’ve hosted the Dunedin club since 2014.
- Two of the Sharks’ last three games have been won by the team trailing at half-time, with the Sharks bouncing back from a half-time deficit to win in their most recent Super Rugby game.
- The Highlanders have won their last five regular-season games on the bounce in South Africa, though their last three have come by margins of seven points or fewer.
- The Sharks have made 15+ offloads in three of their last four home games; they had just so just twice in their 10 games prior.
- Aaron Smith has been directly involved in 10 tries this campaign (3 tries, 7 assists), the equal most of any player in the competition alongside Crusaders’ Manasa Mataele (7 tries, 3 assists).
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: PEEEEP! we are underway in Durban.
1.00: TRY! What a start for the Sharks! Armand van der Merwe scores after Ruan Botha steals the ball and sends the hooker away. 5-0
2.00: CONVERSION! Robert du Preez adds the extras. 7-0
4.00: André Esterhuizen bursts toward the try-line but he runs straight into Waisake Naholo and loses a grip on the ball over the line.
6.00: The Sharks have started on fire.
7.00: TRY! Makazole Mapimpi is over for the Sharks’ second, beating Lima Sopoaga to score. 12-0
9.00: CONVERSION! Robert du Preez slots another kick. 14-0
10.00: Sopoaga kicks a penalty near the Sharks 22. The Highlanders are stunned but need to strike back.
12.00: Jean-Luc du Preez kicks the ball downfield and it rolls into touch over the halfway line.
15.00: A sharks lineout in the Highlanders’ 22 results in a scrum to the visitors.
16.00: The game is slowing down as both sides probe each other’s defence.
18.00: The Sharks are all over the Highlanders but another promising attack is halted by a knock on.
20.00: Another handling error by the home team gives possession to the visitors.
21.00: The Sharks’ defence has been outstanding in this first-half, but the Highlanders still have possession.
23.00: The Sharks worked well to rip the ball in the tackle but knock the ball on while trying to counter-attack.
25.00: Cameron Wright cleans up at the back after the away team kick the ball into the danger zone. It will be a 22 drop-out.
27.00: TRY! Dillon Hunt scores the first try for the Kiwis after a rolling maul. It had been coming. 14-5
29.00: CONVERSION! Sopoaga halves the deficit. 14-7
30.00: Sopoaga loses the ball forward. Scrum to the Sharks.
32.00: A powerful scrum by the South Africans leads to a penalty. Du Preez will take a shot at goal.
33.00: PENALTY! Du Preez makes no mistake. 17-7
35.00: The Sharks make another handling error; scrum to the visitors. Scrum is reset.
37.00: The sharks are on another attack inside the Highlanders 22. Another try and they will be in control before the break.
38.00: The Sharks take the quick tap after the Highlanders were penalised for offside. Wright has a dart at the line but is held up just half a metre from the paint.
40.00: The Highlanders win the penalty but a scuffle ensues on the stroke of halftime. The referee is conferring with the TMO for foul play.
41.00: Nothing doing, and Marius van der Westhuizen blows for halftime.
The halftime score was Sharks 17 Highlanders 7
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway at the Shark Tank.
43.00: The Highlanders have not had much possession and have been under the cosh. It has started in a similar vein as the end of the first-half.
44.00: the Sharks’ handling has been excellent since the break, offloading with no-look passes and inside balls.
45.00: TRY! Daniel du Preez scores after some smart work between him and Lukhanyo Am and Mapimpi. 22-7
46.00: CONVERSION! Robert converts his brother’s try. 24-7
48.00: Esterhuizen breaks two tackles and charges into the Highlanders 22, but Du Preez’s ensuing kick rolls out over the in-goal area.
50.00: The Highlanders have a midfield scrum after Wright’s kick travels out over the dead-ball line.
51.00: The Highlanders have made almost double the tackles as the Sharks and they have missed 14 to five.
52.00: Thomas du Toit wins another penalty at the scrum.
54.00: Every time the Sharks attack, they look like scoring. The Highlanders are being opened up far too easily, especially in the wide channels.
58.00: The Highlanders cannot get out of their half, the home team is dominating the visitors at the set-pieces and broken play.
61.00: The Sharks have the scrum and break blind.
62.00: TRY! Sibusiso Nkosi shows his wheels, chasing Du Preez’s deft grubber, and dotting down before the ball rolled out of play. 29-7
63.00: CONVERSION! Du Preez adds the extras. 31-7
66.00: The Sharks are starting to put their foot down.
68.00: TRY! Curwin Bosch dances through five defenders and offloads to the supporting Rob du Preez. The flyhalf swivels and speeds away to score near the posts. Game over! 36-7
69.00: CONVERSION! Du Preez converts his own try. 38-7
75.00: TRY! Teihorangi Walden scores in the corner after Ben Smith’s break opened up the home team. 38-12
76.00: MISS! The conversion is wide. 38-12
80.00: One last scrum to the home team to end this contest.
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The final score: Sharks 38 (17) Highlanders 12 (7)
Tries – A. Van der Merwe, Mapimpi, D. Du Preez, Nkosi, R. du Preez
Pen – R. du Preez
Con – R. du Preez (5)
Tries – Hunt, Walden
Con – Sopoaga
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 1: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 2: Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Christie du Preez
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 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 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.
15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Patelesio Tomkinson, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Matt Faddes.