Blues vs Sharks – Report – Super Rugby 2018 – 31 Mar, 2018

Rugby


The Sharks have shrugged off second-half fightback from the Blues to grab a 63-40 win in a turbo-charged Super Rugby match at Eden Park.

Coming off the bye, the Blues were comprehensively outplayed on Saturday, with poor tackling and an inability to secure quality ball allowing the Sharks to open out a 26-7 halftime lead.

The Aucklanders hit back in the second spell with three tries in the space of eight minutes but could find no answer to a masterful display from Sharks fly-half Robert du Preez.

The 24-year-old playmaker kicked flawlessly, nailing seven penalties and six conversions as well as scoring a try of his own to total 38 points for the match.

An inability to compete at the breakdown cost the Blues early, with du Preez nailing his first penalty after just three minutes.

Things never really improved as the South Africans attacked the breakdown with vigour, forcing the turnover and sending lock Ruan Botha over from close range.

Trailing 13-0 after 15 minutes, the Blues finally hit back five minutes later, and quick hands and good support play down the left sent fullback Michael Collins over.

Flanker Jean-Luc du Preez brushed off some woeful Blues tackling to score in the 33rd minute and set up a 26-7 halftime lead.

The Blues went out firing in the second 40, running in three tries in eight minutes after Sharks winger Sbu Nkosi was sin-binned in the 44th minute for a high tackle.

No.8 Akira Ioane kick-started the comeback, crossing out wide for his sixth try of the season.

Flanker Patrick Tuipulotu burst through the middle soon after for the Blues’ third then Stephen Perofeta glided through to give them a 28-26 edge.

The mayhem continued when Nkosi returned and the Sharks snatched back the lead through tries to Lubabalo Mtembu and du Preez.

With winger Jordan Trainor sin-binned in the 64th minute, the Blues never looked like mounting a second comeback.

Kobus van Wyk crossed for the Sharks’ fifth try in the 71st minute and the Blues sneaked in late tries from Rieko Ioane and Goerge Moala.

The Sharks had the last say, however, as fullback Curwin Bosch crossed in stoppage time.

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