'I am not surprised '
REACTION: The Sharks and Stormers players have spoken out about the decision to suspend Super Rugby.
A try by World Cup winner Makazole Mapimpi sealed a 24-14 victory for the table-topping Sharks over the Stormers in Durban on Saturday.
His score one minute from time followed two penalties by flyhalf Curwin Bosch that turned a 13-14 deficit on 69 minutes into a 10-point triumph at Kings Park.
It was the last match in the Southern Hemisphere competition to be played in the republic for the “foreseeable future” – because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The SANZAAR announcement of the postponement of the tournament came just 80 minutes before the kick-off in Durban and many players were unaware that Super Rugby will be suspended after Round Seven.
“I am not surprised by the suspension given the spread of the virus and just hope the break is not too long,” said Sharks skipper and centre Lukhanyo Am.
Sharks coach Sean Everitt described the postponed as a “welcome break” for his team.
“Our guys are knackered,” he said of his team – which just returned from a month-long tour of Australasia – where they beat the Highlanders (42-20) in Dunedin, lost to the Hurricanes (22-38) in Wellington, beat the Rebels (36-24) in Ballarat and beat the Reds (33-23) in Brisbane.
“Our guys need the break.
“Unfortunately we can’t host the Chiefs next week. The spectators would have loved to come to watch that.
“That is just the way it is, we can’t control that. We will welcome the break.”
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Sharks went back to the top of the combined table with 24 points after a fifth consecutive win, one point above the Crusaders, the defending champions.
The Stormers, the pacesetters for four rounds, slipped to seventh on 17 points, behind the Hurricanes on points difference.
“Our forwards won this match and the goal-kicking of Curwin [Bosch] contributed a lot to the victory,” Am said.
Stormers prop and captain Steven Kitshoff said the match was a “wonderful advertisement for South African rugby in front of a great crowd”.
“Both sides pitched up and we had a typical South African derby – very physical with possession fiercely contested.
“The suspension is unfortunate but understandable because the good health of people has to come before sport. Let us hope the break is short.”
Organisers SANZAAR said they had “no option but to suspend the 2020 Super Rugby tournament at the conclusion of this weekend’s matches for the foreseeable future”.
SANZAAR said it had taken its decision after the New Zealand government announced that all returning travellers, including Super Rugby players, will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Five New Zealand teams, including reigning champions Crusaders, play in the 15-team tournament which also includes clubs from Australia, South Africa and Argentina.