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Bok-laden Sharks run riot at Kings Park

REPORT: The Sharks recorded their first win over the 2023/24 United Rugby Championship season, beating Dragons 69-14 at Kings Park on Saturday.

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The Sharks delivered a ruthless performance at the back of a heartbreaking 12-13 defeat to Connacht last weekend.

They ran in 10 tries to the Dragons’ two in Durban.

*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!

John Plumtree’s men were boosted with the return of their World Cup-winning Springboks.

Eben Etzebeth, Makazole Mapimpi, Jaden Hendrikse, Ox Nche and Grant Williams were all in the mix for the Round Six clash against the Dragons, with Lukhanyo Am captaining the Durban side.

Williams and Aphelele Fassi bagged a brace of tries respectively. Etzebeth, Mapimpi, Am, Werner Kok, Phepsi Buthelezi and Jeandre Labuschagne were the other try-scorers.

Curwin Bosch added 11 points (four conversions, a penalty) to the team’s tally and Boeta Chamberlain eight (four conversions).

Dane Blacker and Rio Dyer scored for the Dragons.

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Following the slow and nervy start, the Sharks were the first team on the board. From a scrum penalty, Curwin Bosch slotted over the three points.

They extended their lead when Fassi went over in the corner after a great line-out steal by Etzebeth. Bosch added the extras for the 10-0 lead.

The Sharks played with intent and the addition of Etzebeth was clearly felt as they dominated the scrums.

Dragons were clearly under pressure and after 20 minutes double World Cup winner Mapimpi rounded off a great team try, handing the Sharks a 15-0 advantage.

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The Dragons had a chance to break their duck when Mapimpi was caught offside. But Cai Evans pushed his attempt wide.

Minutes later, the Dragons were finally on the scoreboard. From a successful line-out, the Welsh side set up an attack which saw Dane Blacker dived over for a try.

Evans added the conversion. However, that would be his last contribution as he left the field for an HIA.

They also went down to 14 men after Chris Coleman was handed a yellow card for repeated infringements.

With 14 men, the Dragons struggled. Sharks kept them inside their own five-metre courtesy of multiple scrum penalties.

The Sharks eventually opted for a line-out, with Werner Kok benefiting from an amazing inside pass by Hendrikse. Bosch missed the conversion as the Sharks took a 20-7 lead at the break.

The Dragons started the second half with vigour and enjoyed much of the possession.

However, they failed to covert their chances and instead a quick tap by Mapimpi sent Etzebeth on his way for the score and the bonus-point try for the Sharks.

The hosts were buzzing with confidence, Rohan Janse van Rensburg made a break before offloading to Kok, who gave a pop pass to Grant Williams for a pointer. Bosch added the extras for the 34-7 lead.

Dragons pulled one back, Rio Dyer gathered the ball from the restart before diving over for his team’s second try. Rhodri Williams made sure to add the conversion.

But the Sharks were relentless and they had their sixth try when Phepsi Buthelezi bulldozed his way over the line.

Soon 41-14 turned to 48-14. An error by Dragons inside their own 22 saw Sharks retain possession before Jeandre Labuschagne scored the converted try.

In the last 10 minutes of the match, it was all the Sharks. Williams and Fassi both bagged a brace of tries respectively, while captain Am also added his name to the scoresheet.

The result sees the Sharks move from the bottom of the table to 14th.

Man of the match: It was an absolutely incredible performance by the Sharks. Eben Etzebeth deserves a mention for his display, leading the forwards. Curwin Bosch made a couple of great tactical kicks to get his team in the right areas. However, our nod goes to Sharks wing Makazole Mapimpi. The Bok was in the thick of things, constantly looking for work. On attack he was lethal, scoring a try and setting up a couple.

The scorers:

For Sharks:
Tries: Fassi 2, Mapimpi, Kok, Etzebeth, G.Williams 2, Buthelezi, Labuschagne, Am
Cons: Bosch 4, Chamberlain 4
Pens: Bosch

For Dragons
Tries: Blacker, Dyer
Cons: Evans, Williams.

Yellow card: Chris Coleman (Dragons, 39- repeated infringements)

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Francois Venter, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phepsi Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Emile van Heerden, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu
Replacements: 16 Daniel Jooste, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Corne Rahl, 20 Jeandre Labuschagne, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Boeta Chamberlain, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Dragons: 15 Cai Evans, 14 Rio Dyer, 13 Sio Tomkinson, 12 Aneurin Owen, 11 Ewan Rosser, 10 Will Reed, 9 Dane Blacker; 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Ollie Griffiths (captain), 6 Sean Lonsdale,5 George Nott, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Chris Coleman, 2 Bradley Roberts, 1 Aki Seiuli,
Replacements: 16 James Benjamin, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Joe Davies, 20 Harri Keddie, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Steff Hughes, 23 Ashton Hewitt

Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Christopher Allison (South Africa); Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Eoghan Cross (Ireland)

 

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