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Sharks boss questions red card in win over Harlequins

REACTION: Sharks Director of Rugby Neil Powell believes the referee’s decision to give Retshegofaditswe Nche a red card against Harlequins was harsh.

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It was a historic first in Durban where the Sharks became the first South African franchise to take part in the new-format Champions Cup, edging the English side 39-31 in a pulsating match.

The home side looked comfortable heading into the final quarter before the Harlequins took advantage of a yellow card to Bongi Mbonambi and a red card to Nché to produce a tense finale.

Nche was sent off for a dangerous head-on-head tackle and Powell questioned the referee’s decision after the match.

“It’s probably a yellow card, but again they [referees] need to make the decisions on the field,” said Powell.

“We will obviously have a look at it and determine what we think the outcome should have been for that incident.

“It does make it difficult, especially for a team that is attacking well from scrums.

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“Having one player less on the field is obviously going to make it challenging.

“You need to be creative and think about how you want to defend against a team that is so accurate in attack from scrums when you are one guy less.

“If you have two players less it becomes tricky because there is either going to be space out wide or in the backfield.”

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A good start

Powell said Saturday’s bonus-point win was important in the grander scheme of things.

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“With only four pool games, it’s important to get the positive result, especially in your home games,” Powell explained.

“If you slip up here [at home] it will be tough to get into the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup.

“The positive result was really important and I think performance wise it was a massive step up from last weekend against the Ospreys.

“We believed that if the performance is good then the result will come.

“We controlled the game nicely in the first half. Unfortunately, the red and yellow cards in the second half put us under pressure.

“Even in the first half, we were not as disciplined as we would like to be.

“Hopefully, we can be more disciplined when we get into the next game against Bordeaux away.”

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