Sharks kept their impressive record over the Blues intact with a 26-7 win on Saturday in Durban.
The result is the Sharks’ second win of the season and their 12th victory in 13 games over the Blues.
The Sharks outscored the Blues four tries to one in hot and humid Durban conditions.
It was certainly a match of two halves as Sharks’ three tries during the first stanza were enough to set the perfect platform for the win.
The Blues were a much-improved side in the second half, but handling errors and the failure to build momentum made it difficult to convert the possession into points.
The hosts were the first to score thanks to a lost line-out from the Blues and great interplay among the backs, Lukhanyo Am’s grubber found Makazole Mapimpi, who miraculously kept the ball in play with his boot. The wing regathered the ball before offloading to Aphelele Fassi for the fullback’s first Super Rugby try.
Sharks again took full advantage of their lineout as they bagged the second try courtesy of Akker van der Merwe, who bashed over the chalk at the back of a maul. This time, R. Du Preez made no mistake from the tee for the 12-0 lead.
After 20 minutes of play, the heat forced the referee Paul Williams to signal a much-needed water-break. Nonetheless, the one-minute break did not disrupt the Sharks’ momentum as they continue to launch attacks.
Right on the half-hour mark. utility back Curwin Bosch made his first appearance of the season when Sibusiso Nkosi left the field with a head-knock.
The Blues conceded another try as their ill-discipline started to make an appearance. The visitors conceded a penalty for a dangerous neck roll and Sharks opted for the kicked to the corner.
The line-out proved again effective for the Sharks. From the back of the maul, captain Louis Schreuder collected the ball before Robert Du Preez sliced through the middle for the five-pointer. The flyhalf converted his own try, handing his side a comfortable 19-0 lead.
Just before the break, the Blues had a five-metre attacking line-out, however yet again their opportunity was diminished with a knock-on.
The second half started very much the same for the Blue. It looked they finally had points on the board as a solid scrum and quick hands by Akira Ioane, Augustine Pulu and Sonny Bill Williams, flyhalf Otere Black dived over the chalk. However, the TMO Marius Jonker ruled it was not a try due to obstruction by Dalton Papalii.
Eventually, the Blues broke the Sharks defence courtesy of Tanielu Tele’a, the replacement rounded Bosch before diving over for the five-pointer. Black added the much-needed conversion.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, the Blues camped inside the Sharks’ 22 and to add extra pressure, the hosts went down to 14 men after Ruan Botha was handed a yellow card for a cynical foul.
The Blues were much better in the closing stages, setting up multiple phases, however, it was the hosts who had the last say.
Bosch intercepted a Blues’ pass inside his own 22, ran more than 75 metres to seal the bonus-point victory for his team. The performance was perfectly concluded with a successful conversion by R Du Preez.
Man of the match: There were loads of noteworthy performances in the Sharks team. Springbok Andre Esterhuizen was influential with his boot, while Lukhanyo Am had a massive impact in setting up a few of his team’s tries. Makazole Mapimpi was also in fine form out wide, however, our nod goes to Akker Van der Merwe, The hooker is certainly a workhorse, impressive work rate on attack and defence.
Tries: Fassie, Van Der Merve, R. Du Preez, Bosch
Cons: R Du Preez 3
Yellow card: Ruan Botha (Sharks, 68 – Cynical foul)
The post Sharks Suffocate Blues In Durban appeared first on iAfrica.com.