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Stormers hold off Bok-laden Sharks in Durban

MATCH REPORT: The Stormers extended their winning streak over fellow South African opposition after they beat the Sharks 25-21 in a United Rugby Championship Round 10 encounter in Durban on Saturday.

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Both teams scored three tries in an entertaining match. However, the Stormers were the better team in most areas of the game throughout the 80 minutes.

The result also means the Stormers have done the double over the Sharks this season after they recorded a 16-15 win in December.

The last time the Stormers suffered a defeat against fellow South African opposition was against the Lions in December 2021.

The Stormers had plenty of the ball in the opening minutes and they were camped inside the Sharks’ 22, but some stern defence kept them at bay.

However, the Sharks’ defensive wall eventually broke in the 17th minute.

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Stormers centre Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu showed his vision on attack by finding Ben Loader with a cross-kick before the wing fed the ball on his inside to Joseph Dweba who sprinted away for the first try of the game.

The visitors then increased their lead in the 23rd minute after fullback Warrick Gelant chipped and gathered the ball before passing it to Paul de Wet who had enough speed to sprint in under the poles.

The Sharks started to get more of the ball after that and after some sustained pressure in the Stormers’ 22, Springbok prop Ox Nche stretched over for a try, which Curwin Bosch converted.

Moments later, the Stormers increased their lead to eight points after a great penalty kick from Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

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At half-time, it was 15-7 to the Stormers.

The Stormers looked better with ball in hand again in the opening minutes of the second half and they were rewarded with Loader going over for his team’s third try after some great runs by Evan Roos in the build-up.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu made it a 15-point lead with his brilliant touchline conversion.

The Sharks needed to be the next to score to stay in the game and they did with James Venter finding his way to the tryline in the 58th minute.

The Stormers also suffered a blow with Leolin Zas being sent to the sinbin for a deliberate knock-on in the build-up to that score.

There was no damage while Zas was off the field and the Stormers eventually increased the lead to 11 points in the 71st minute with a Feinberg-Mngomezulu penalty.

The Sharks didn’t give up and they made things interesting again after hooker Bongi Mbonambi crashed over for his team’s third try in the 76th minute.

Siya Masuku made it a four-point ball game with his conversion.

However, there was not enough time on the clock for the Sharks to get a winning score.

Man of the match: Jurie Matthee showed his class in the No.10 channel, while Ben Loader was a constant threat on the wing. Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu also showed his composure on attack and created his team’s opening try. However, the award goes to Stormers captain Neethling Fouche, who put in a huge shift. He was also a colossus on defence.

The scorers:

For Sharks
Tries: Nche, J Venter, Mbonambi
Con: Bosch, Masuku 2

For Stormers:
Tries: Dweba, De Wet, Loader
Cons: Feinberg-Mngomezulu 2
Pens: Feinberg-Mngomezulu 2

Yellow card: Leolin Zas (Stormers, 58′ – cynical play, deliberate knock-on)

Teams:

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 Le Roux Roets, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Vincent Tshituka, 21 Bradley Davids, 22 Siya Masuku, 23 Aphiwe Dyantyi.

Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 12 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jurie Matthee, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Evan Roos, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Wandisile Simelane, 23 Angelo Davids.

Referee: Morne Ferreira (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa), Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Ben Crouse (South Africa)

Photo: @THESTORMERS

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