Sharks edge Jaguares in scrappy affair
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Sharks held on for a hard-earned 18-13 win over the Jaguares in a scrappy encounter in Durban on Saturday.
The Sharks outscored the visitors from Argentina by two tries to one, to stay in the hunt for a place in the play-offs.
It was the Jaguares' second loss of the season, having also lost to the Stormers in Cape Town last month.
Endless handling errors by both teams and many penalties led to a stop-start match that offered minimum entertainment at Kings Park stadium in Durban.
Success was important for the Sharks as they and the Jaguares seem likely to fight for a quarterfinals place in the competition.
South African sides the Stormers and Lions are favoured to win the Africa One and Two conferences, leaving the Sharks and Jaguares to fight for best runners-up slot.
Lions top the Africa Two standings with 23 points, the Sharks now have 22 and Jaguares 19 after Round Seven.
However, on the evidence of this match, neither the Durban nor Buenos Aires outfits will be contenders for a trophy lifted last year by the Hurricanes of New Zealand.
Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach opened the scoring on six minutes, breaking from deep in his half after a turnover and outpacing the defence.
Argentine flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez slotted two penalties then missed two others before a penalty by fullback Curwin Bosch put the Sharks 8-6 ahead at half-time.
The hosts stretched their advantage to nine points on 44 minutes when centre Andre Esterhuizen barged over off a Reinach pass and Bosch converted.
Sanchez was yellow carded just before the hour for an early tackle on rival flyhalf Inny-Christian Radebe, a late inclusion for Garth April.
But the visitors overcame the numerical handicap and skipper and hooker Agustin Creevy scored a try which wing Bautista Ezcurra converted.
Bosch completed the scoring two minutes from time with a penalty awarded for illegal scrumming by the South Americans.
Man of the match: Nicolas Sanchez again showed how valuable he is to the Argentinean franchise, while Joaquin Tuculet was a rock in the last line of defence. Leonardo Senatore showed his experience in this tight battle. Agustin Creevy also got through a massive workload. Thomas du Toit and Lourens Adriaanse made a massive impact in the scrums when they came on in the second half. Stephan Lewies was great value in the line-outs, with a couple of crucial steals. The Du Preez twins, Daniel and Jean-Luc, were the energy in the team. However, our award goes to Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, who made another empathic statement about his inclusion in the Springbok training squad.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Reinach, Esterhuizen
Pens: Bosch 2
For the Jaguares:
Pens: Sanchez 2
Yellow card: Nicolas Sanchez (Jaguares, 57 - cynical foul, early tackle)
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Jacobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Inny-Christain Radebe, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Lubabalo Mtembu (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenraad Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Rhyno Smith, 23 Jeremy Ward
Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Bautista Ezcurra, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Marcos Kremer, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Lucas Noguera.
Replacements: 16 Roberto Tejerizo, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Felipe Arregui, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Rodrigo Baez, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Santiago Gonzales Iglesias, 23 Santiago Cordero.
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Pictures courtesy of Wayne Seagreen