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Sharks slay Dragons in the rain

CHALLENGE CUP REPORT: The Sharks ended the Dragons’ Challenge Cup campaign with a 29-9 win in wet and windy conditions in Newport on Sunday.

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The team from Durban ran in five tries and they will be proud that they kept the home side tryless in the game.

The Dragons needed a win to qualify for the play-offs, but they could not build on the good start they had with the Sharks slowly building momentum throughout the 80 minutes.

With the bonus-point victory, the Sharks sit well clear at the top of Pool One with 17 log points. They will host a Round of 16 match in Durban in April.

The Dragons opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a Cai Evans penalty.

The home side then thought they increased their lead after an incredible passage of play.

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After running back deep inside his own half to field a long kick, Jared Rosser evaded a few Sharks defenders before kicking the ball downfield. With the ball crossing the Sharks’ tryline, Rosser, who beat all other chasers, dived onto the ball and the try was awarded.

However, just before the game restarted the TMO asked the ref to take another look at it and the try was disallowed for no downward pressure on the ball.

The Dragons eventually increased their lead in the 22nd minute with another Evans penalty.

The Sharks started to get more of the ball as the first half went on and they were rewarded for some great phase play in the 36th minute when Springbok scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse darted over the tryline. Bosch converted the score to give his team a 7-6 lead.

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Springbok prop Ox Nche then showed his sheer power when he crashed over the Dragons’ tryline after a tap penalty.

Bosch could not convert the score and at half-time, it was 12-6 to the Sharks.

Both teams had their fair share of the ball in the opening quarter of the second half and the Dragons reduced the Sharks’ lead to three points in the 60th minute with another penalty.

However, the Sharks put some breathing space between themselves and the Dragons in the 71st minute when Gerbrandt Grobler was driven over the tryline from a maul.

To rub salt in the Dragons’ wounds, Rodrigo Martinez was shown a yellow card for repeated infringements before Le Roux Roets scored the Sharks bonus-point try.

The game was wrapped up when Werner Kok pounced on a loose ball inside the Dragons’ in-goal area to score the fifth try.

Man of the match: Ox Nche showed why he is a Springbok with a solid performance in the scrums and in open play. He also scored one of his team’s four tries. However, the award goes to Sharks lock Gerbrandt Grobler who hardly put a foot wrong all game. He was outstanding in the line-outs and his physicality gave his team an edge in the collisions. He also scored a try as well.

The scorers:

For Dragons:
Pens: Evans 3

For Sharks:
Tries: Hendrikse, Nche, Grobler, Roets, Kok
Cons: Bosch 2

Yellow card: Rodrigo Martinez (Dragons, 76′ – repeated infringements)

Teams:

Dragons: 15 Cai Evans, 14 Rio Dyer, 13 Steff Hughes (captain), 12 Harri Ackerman, 11 Jared Rosser, 10 Will Reed, 9 Dane Blacker, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Ryan Woodman, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Joe Davies, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Bradley Roberts, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 James Benjamin, 17 Rodrigo Martinez, 18 Luke Yendle, 19 George Young, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Joe Westwood, 23 Ewan Rosser.

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Francois Venter, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Corne Rahl, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Tinotenda Mavesere, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

Referee: Adrien Marbot (France)
Assistant referees: Benoit Rousselet (France), Thomas Chereque (France)
TMO: Julien Castaignede (France)

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