Sharks stumble against a ruthless Harlequins in London
MATCH REPORT: The Harlequins produced a stunning performance, beating the Sharks 39-29 at the Twickenham Stoop in London.
The Harlequins outscored the Sharks by five tries to four and secured a spot in the Round of 16.
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!
Quins notched a bonus-point win in the crucial Pool A, Round 4 contest as Danny Care, Alex Dombrandt, Cadan Murley, Stephan Lewies and Nick David all crossed, with Marcus Smith adding 14 points from the tee.
Lukhanyo Am, Jaden Hendrikse and Eben Etzebeth scored first-half tries for the Sharks, and although the South African outfit faded after the break, Aphelele Fassi got over for their vital fourth score and boosted their hopes of a home Round of 16 tie.
Sharks were ahead inside two minutes, with centre Am crossing after fullback Fassi’s kick bounced kindly for wing Thaakir Abrahams.
But Quins wrestled control over the next quarter of an hour as scrumhalf Care, on his 350th game for the club, nipped round the corner to finish smartly.
No.8 Dombrandt was then the beneficiary of a brilliant flowing move kick-started by a typically robust carry from centre Andre Esterhuizen and a surging run from fullback David.
A third score came on 17 minutes as the hosts shifted the ball down the line and allowed wing Murley to cruise over in the corner unchallenged.
Sharks had added three points to their tally after Quins’ second cross through a penalty from flyhalf Bosch, and had their second try on 26 minutes when scrumhalf Hendrikse finished superbly after a powerful run from wing Marnus Potgieter.
Flyhalf Smith’s penalty on half an hour looked set to be the final points of the first half, but Sharks would snatch a third score in the dying seconds as lock Etzebeth sneaked around a Quins ruck to steal the ball and dot down in a wily but fair piece of play.
Quins, therefore, took a slender 24-22 lead into the second half, and that was increased by another five points as lock Lewies powered over for the bonus-point try amid a lineout maul.
The home side notched another try on 51 minutes thanks to a brilliant individual effort from David, who swept up a kick from Abrahams inside his own 22, stabbed forward himself, before gathering and finishing under the posts from halfway.
Quins saw the game out over the remaining half an hour, with Smith adding another penalty on 68 minutes, though Sharks would get over in the closing stages as Fassi picked his way through following a period of sustained pressure.
Man of the match: Danny Care was fantastic at scrumhalf for Harlequins, while Marcus Smith also delivered an impressive performance in his return. Harlequins Nick David deserves a mention for his counterattack, including his brilliant individual try. However Harlequins captain Alex Dombrandt gets the award. The No.8 was a solid figure in Harlequins’ defence and his turnovers proved to be crucial. The skipper also added his name to the scoreboard.
Tries: Care, Dombrandt, Murley, Lewies, David
Cons: Smith 4
Tries: Am, Hendrikse, Etzebeth, Fassi
Cons: Bosch 2, Cornje
Harlequins: 15 Nick David, 14 Cadan Murley, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain), 7 Will Evans, 6 Dino Lamb, 5 Irne Herbst, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 George Head, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Tom Lawday, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Tommy Allan, 23 Oscar Beard
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Carlü Sadie, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Francois Vente
Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant referees: Craig Evans (Wales), Adam Jones (Wales)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
*Additional Source: @ChampionsCup