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Cardiff outplay 14-man Sharks in Durban

MATCH REPORT: Cardiff ended their South African tour on a high with a 36-14 win over the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

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The team from Wales outscored the home side by five tries to two in the match.

The Sharks, who were without their first-choice players due to their Challenge Cup Final against Gloucester in London next weekend, also played most of the match with 14 men after Tino Mavesere received a red card for a shoulder to an opponent’s head in the 20th minute.

Both teams had their fair share of the ball in the opening few minutes, but the visitors opened the scoring with Alun Lawrence crashing over in the 15th minute.

Ben Thomas made it a seven-point lead with the conversion.

Things got worse for the Sharks in the 20th minute when Mavesere was shown red for that high tackle.

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With momentum on Cardiff’s side from a powerful driving maul, Ben Donnell was next to score with Thomas making it a 14-point lead with another conversion.

However, some sloppy play near Cardiff’s tryline allowed Diego Appollis to swoop on a loose ball and score the Sharks’ first points of the game.

Flyhalf Lionel Cronje made it a seven-point ball game again with the extra two points.

The visitors looked like they would be the next to score and they did when Willis Halaholo evaded a few defenders to run in and score his team’s third try.

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Thomas was successful with the conversion again.

Cardiff secured the bonus point in the 34th minute after another strong maul sent James Botham over the Sharks’ tryline. This time Thomas could not add the extras.

The visitors started the second half with a three-pointer from Thomas to push the lead out to 22 points.

Things became an arm-wrestle after that before Cardiff replacement Mason Grady scored his team’s fifth try in the 73rd minute.

Thomas added the extras with the conversion.

There was something for the Sharks fans to cheer about at the end with Curin Bosch scoring an opportunistic try in the 78th minute.

Man of the Match: Ben Thomas, Cardiff’s flyhalf and playmaker, made the most of a dominant performance by his team, consistently putting them in the right areas and tactically controlling matters. He kicked four conversions and a penalty, providing an assured presence throughout as the Welsh side took charge from an early stage.

The scorers:

For Sharks:
Tries: Appollis, Bosch
Cons: Cronje, Bosch

For Cardiff:
Tries: Lawrence, Donnell, Halaholo, Botham, Grady
Cons: Thomas 4
Pen: Thomas

Red card: Tino Mavesere (Sharks, 20′ – foul play, high tackle)

Teams:

Sharks: 15 Boeta Chamberlain, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Diego Appollis, 12 Eduan Keyter, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Tiaan Fourie, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Simon Miller, 6 Tino Mavesere, 5 Reniel Hugo (captain), 4 Corne Rahl, 3 Khwezi Mona, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Dian Bleuler.
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Braam Reyneke, 18 IG Prinsloo, 19 Thomas Dyer, 20 Nick Hatton, 21 Bradley Davids, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Anthony Volmink.

Cardiff: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 10 Ben Thomas, 9 Ellis Bevan, 8 Alun Lawrence, 7 James Botham, 6 Ben Donnell, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 3 Rhys Litterick, 2 Liam Belcher (captain), 1 Corey Domachowski.
Replacements: 16 Evan Lloyd, 17 Rhys Carré, 18 Keiron Assiratti, 19 Seb Davies, 20 Mackenzie Martin, 21 Tinus de Beer, 22 Jacob Beetham, 23 Mason Grady.

Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Griffin Colby (South Africa) and Stephen Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Eoghan Cross (Ireland)

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