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Sharks move into top eight after thrilling win against Edinburgh

URC REPORT: The Sharks moved into the top eight in the United Rugby Championship standings after a thrilling 22-19 win over Edinburgh at the Edinburgh Rugby Stadium on Saturday.

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It was an entertaining match that stretched to 87 minutes with the visitors putting in a massive defensive effort to keep the hosts out at the end.

The first half was thrilling with the Sharks scoring two converted tries for a 14-0 lead before Edinburgh fought back strongly with three back-to-back tries to take a 19-14 lead.

The second half was also a thriller with the Sharks scoring the only try in the half, but a penalty goal by flyhalf Curwin Bosch proved to be the difference on the scoreboard in the end.

Sharks scrumhalf Grant Williams struck first with a brilliant intercept try using his raw pace in the fifth minute and the visitors had two more chances to score soon after, but their chances of extending their lead were improved as Edinburgh wing Wesley Goosen received a yellow card for an infringement at a ruck on the tryline.

The Durbanites’ capitalised on this with wing Marnus Potgieter scoring out wide thanks to an overlap in the 19th minute after some good forward play for a 14-0 lead.

The hosts however fought back with intent as hooker Adam McBurney rounded off a stunning team try before adding his second soon after from a powerful rolling maul, and the successful conversion allowed them to level the scores at 14-14 with less than three minutes left in the half.

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The home side continued to fight and this paid off with their third try by fullback Henry Immelman a minute later from great speed and support play on attack, which saw them hold a handy five-point going into the break.

The Sharks earned the first points after the restart with flyhalf Curwin Bosch slotting a penalty goal to push them within two points of the hosts on the scoreboard.

The Sharks showed enterprise on attack in the following minutes, but the home side’s defence shut them out.

The visitors forced their way to the tryline through a rolling maul in the 61st minute with hooker Kerron van Vuuren earning the five-pointer, which saw them take a 22-19 lead at a crucial time of the match. They came within inches of adding another try minutes later as Springbok Ntuthuko Mchunu broke through and tried to stretch over the tryline, but the ball was ruled to be held up.

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The Sharks were placed under pressure with 13 minutes left on the clock as replacement prop Carlu Sadie received a yellow card for an infringement at a ruck, but their tenacious defence saw them hang on for the victory.

Player of the match

Grant Williams was fantastic on attack for the visitors in the first half. Prop Ox Nche will also dominate the highlights with a great run and some big tackles. However, the award goes to Aphelele Fassi who was rock solid at the back. He was excellent under the high ball and he was a constant threat on attack.

Play of the match

After going 14-0 down, Edinburgh needed a touch of inspiration midway through the first half, and they got it thanks to a quick tap penalty by Vellacott.

Good work by Savala kept the attack alive, and it was finished off by a one-two between Venter and try-scorer McBurney.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:
Tries: McBurney 2, Immelman
Cons: Savala 2

For Sharks:
Tries: Williams, Potgieter, Van Vuuren
Cons: Bosch 2
Pen: Bosch

Yellow cards: Wes Goosen (Edinburgh, 16′ cynical play, not releasing ball carrier); Carlü Sadie (Sharks, 67′ – dangerous play, collapsing a ruck)

Teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Henry Immelman, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Mark Bennett (captain), 12 James Lang, 11 Jack Blain, 10 Charlie Savala, 9 Ben Vellacott, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Nick Haining, 5 Glen Young, 4 Marshall Sykes, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Adam McBurney, 1 Boan Venter.
Replacements: 16 Dave Cherry, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Lee-Roy Atalifo, 19 Jamie Hodgson, 20 Ben Muncaster, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Cammy Hutchison.

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (captain), 7 Henco Venter, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Carlü Sadie, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Yaw Penxe.

Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jonny Perriam (Scotland), Ru Campbell (Scotland)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (Italy)

Additional source: SA Rugby & URC

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