Super Rugby

Steely Sharks stun Stormers after last-gasp Am score

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The Sharks edged the Stormers 9-12 in a bruising South African Super Rugby derby at Newlands, Cape Town.

Victory seals an away quarter-final for the Sharks, while the Stormers miss out on the knock-out stages after an ordinary season.

The Durban franchise will travel down under to take play the Brumbies at GIO Stadium in Canberra, next Saturday.

This was a cold-blooded attack by the men in black from the east coast of the Republic as they stunned the Stormers at the death.

Three penalties, two from Josh Stander and a 77th-minute goal by replacement Jean-Luc du Plessis looked to have booked the Stormers a berth in the playoffs.

But Lukhanyo Am’s 82nd-minute score broke the Newland’s faithful’s hearts.

The try came after the fourth 14+ phase attack inside the Stormers’ 22; it was the one, though, that counted.

The game was evenly contested in every department with the tackle count, missed tackles, handling errors and possession and territory almost equally shared.

The Sharks took a slender lead into the break after Ryno Smith’s 28th-minute try.

Stander’s earlier penalty had given the Stormers the lead, but both teams could muster any more points in a pulsating first half.

The Sharks lacked a cutting edge, struggling to convert pressure into points.

Stander added another penalty to edge his side in front, soon after the break.

Louis Schreuder’s decision to kick to the corner instead of taking the points kept the hosts in front as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

It did not prove a costly decision.

Jean-Luc du Plessis thought he had sent his side to the business end of the tournament, but there was still time for the thrilling denouement.

A brutal first-half was played at a frenetic pace

The opening 25 minutes was played at break-neck speed and the physicality was brutal on the body.

Four players left the field inside seven minutes. Jaco Coetzee and Makazole Mapimpi for Head Injury Assessment’s; Mapimpi did not return.

Both Stormers’ locks went off injured inside a minute of each other, too.

The Sharks dominated territory with 80%, but the Stormers had the better chances.

Super Rugby Video highlights, Round 18: Stormers versus Sharks, Newlands, Cape Town

The visitors held possession for lengthy periods of plays, going over seven phases three times and reaching 16 phases twice, but they had nothing to show for their efforts.

Robert du Preez’s side was reckless in possession once they entered the Stormers’ 22, his back three each knocking on in contact and his son, Rob, throwing a forward pass.

It was the home team who opened the scoring with a 23rd-minute penalty by Stander.

Sharks strike with a counter-punch after sustaining a long period of pressure

Another promising 14-phase attack from the Stormers ended with a run-away score for Smith.

Smith collected the bouncing ball, which was meant for Dillyn Leyds, and raced 85 metres to score his maiden Super Rugby try.

Robbie Fleck’s men were dropping like flies.

Mbongeni Mbonambi was sin-binned on 32 minutes for leading with his forearm as he charged into the defenders.

Superb game management by the home team as they shut-out Sharks while down to 14 players

Coetzee went down again after crashing his head with Damian de Allende and did not return.

The Stormers milked the clock expertly while Mbonambi was off the field, not conceding a point while the hooker was off.

Their pack collapsed multiple scrums without getting penalised and won a free-kick as well, going into the break down by two.

The second half was cagey as both side’s intensity dropped. They both looked to play in each other’s half and kicked at every opportunity.

Daniel du Preez was lucky to not have seen yellow for a dangerous tackle on Johannes Engelbrecht.

Stander’s second penalty put his team back in front on 45 minutes.

The game became fragmented with all the mistakes and tactical kicking.

Schreuder opted not to take the points, early in the final quarter, opting to kick for the corner.

The game became scrappy as the clock wound down.

The Sharks went 14 phases – the third time in the game of doing so – and came away with nothing after Mbonambi won a penalty at the breakdown.

Seabelo Senatla thought he had scored with six minutes remaining, but Jean-Luc du Plessis’ pass to the winger was forward.

With less than four minutes remaining, the Stormers’ pack won a scrum penalty inside the opposition’s 22.

Du Plessis made no mistake, pushing his side’s lead to four.

It meant the visitors needed a try to make the quarter-finals.

The hooter sounded, the sharks marched into the Stormers’ 22. This was it; one last shot.

Du Preez Snr’s side put together another double-digit phase attack, going 15 phases before Am broke the line, the Stormers’ resistance and hearts.

Final Score: Stormers 9 (3) Sharks 12 (5)

Scorers

Stormers
Tries –
Pen – Stander (2), J. Du Plessis
Con –
Drop –
Cards – Mbonambi (Yellow, 32′)

Sharks
Tries – Smith, Am
Pen –
Con – R. Du Preez
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 1: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Ref 2: Divan Uys
TMO: Willie Vos

Teams

Stormers

15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Johannes Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).

Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Dan Kriel.

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 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola.

Replacements: 16 Cullen Collopy, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Rhyno Smith.

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