Physical Sharks down Rebels 28-14

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DURBAN, March 23 – The Sharks dominated all facets of play as the ran out 28-14 winners in their Super Rugby encounter against the Rebels at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday evening.

There was little to separate the sides at the break with Robert du Preez’s late penalty miss seeing the home side just two points ahead.

It was a whirlwind 40 minutes filled with action and sprinkled with mistakes by both sides. The Du Preez brothers combined within the first 10 minutes to send the hosts ahead as Daniel scored with Robert adding the extras.

Tom English helped the Rebels into the match after being shown a clear line following Quade Cooper’s cut-out pass before the boot of Du Preez extended the hosts’ lead.

That lead evapourated in the 31st minute when Jack Maddocks burst clear following some fine handling amongst the backs. Maddocks had some work to do, but made rounding Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi look easy.

Once again, the Sharks forced an error to move narrowly in front courtesy of Robert Du Preez’s boot.

The home side took control in the territorial battle early in the second half and it was Robert du Preez, who benefited as he dotted down the simplest of tries after his forwards did the hard work in the build-up.

The Sharks were going hammer and tong looking for some comfort and found that when wing Makazole Mapimpi crossed over in the 59th minute, after an attacking scrum deep into the Rebels 22m area.

The Rebels were unable to gain any sort of ascendancy as the Sharks dealt with any half-break or attempt to exit their own half as the clock wound down.

The visitors’ desperation to reduce the deficit saw a number of unforced errors as the Sharks drove deeper into the red zone. The Sharks, though, were guilty of a number of mistakes of their own as they squandered a number of chances to extend their lead.

Five minutes from time Mapimpi was denied a brilliant solo try from 60m after teammate Marius Louw was shown a yellow for an off the ball high tackle in the lead up.

The Rebels failed to take advantage of their numerical advantage as the Sharks held on for a much-needed win.

Scorers: Sharks 28(16) Tries: Daniel du Preez, Robert du Preez, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Robert du Preez (2) Penalties: Robert du Preez (3)

Rebels 14(14) Tries: Tom English, Jack Maddocks. Conversions: Quade Cooper (2).

The Chiefs claimed their first win of the 2019 Super Rugby season with a sensational 7-try 56-20 win over the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

The New Zealand visitors led 24-6 at halftime. (ANA)