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Commentary by Sport24's Herman Mostert
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21:27 - PICTURE
All Black and Highlanders scrumhalf Aaron Smith jumps for possession (Gallo Images).
21:11 - PICTURE
No way through for Charl McLeod, who captained the Sharks on the night... (Gallo Images)
Metres run: Sharks 357-406 Highlanders
Carries: Sharks 100-73 Highlanders
Defenders beaten: Sharks 19-12 Highlanders
Clean breaks: Sharks 4-3 Highlanders
Tackles: Sharks 61-80 Highlanders
Missed tackles: Sharks 12-19 Highlanders
Turnovers won: Sharks 4-9 Highlanders
Kicks in play: Sharks 36-42 Highlanders
Rucks won: Sharks 65-41 Highlanders
Rucks lost: Sharks 5-2 Highlanders
Lineouts won: Sharks 14-13 Highlanders
Lineouts lost: Sharks 0-1 Highlanders
Scrums won: Sharks 5-7 Highlanders
Scrums lost: Sharks 1-3 Highlanders
Penalties conceded: Sharks 7-16 Highlanders
Highlanders fullback Ben Smith received the best player accolade.
FULL-TIME: Sharks 18-34 Highlanders
A thoroughly deserved win for the Kiwis - who take a full five points from the match. They head to Newlands to face the Stormers next Saturday.
The Sharks will now embark on their Australasian tour lacking confidence. They start against the Rebels in Melbourne next Friday.
Yes, they were disrupted by the withdrawal of skipper Bismarck du Plessis and lost other key players as well. But the lacklustre effort of tonight must be worrisome for coach Jake White. They seemed short of energy and commitment - not a mood you want to go into a tough tour with.
And making 16 handling errors is simply NOT good enough at this level!
80' - After winning the final scrum, the Highlanders kick it out to end a miserable night for the Sharks...
79' - Another handling error by the Sharks - that's 16 for the night now!
Nick Mallett was correct last week when he said the skills level of the SA teams is very poor.
78' - The Highlanders have been very good on the ground tonight while their tactical kicking was spot on, not giving the Sharks adequate space to counter attack from...
77' - Replacement loose forward Ryan Kankowski joins in the Sharks woes by knocking it on in midfield. Nothing going to hand for the Sharks tonight it seems...
75' - With five minutes remaining, the best the Sharks can hope for now is a losing bonus point. But for that to happen, they must score twice...
74' - TWEET
In absence of Bissie, several senior Sharks have been v poor tonight: JP, Frans, Alberts ... - Rob Houwing
73' - But Ungerer commits a howler by kicking the ball out of the full just outside his own 22... sigh...
72' - Stefan Ungerer has also replaced Charl McLeod at scrumhalf for the Sharks, who look a beaten side now.
71' - That was also the BONUS POINT try for the Highlanders.
70' - CONVERSION by Sopoaga.
Sharks 18-34 Highlanders
68' - TRY! Malakai Fekitoa scores under the posts after darting through half the Sharks team! He countered from just inside the Sharks half after play had moved up-field when the visitors lost possession inside the Sharks 22.
A brilliant individual try but equally poor defence from the Sharks!
67' - SP Marais makes another error when he kicks it out directly to give the Highlanders an attacking lineout just out side the Sharks 22m area...This is turning into a horror night for the Sharks!
67' - Dale Chadwick has replaced Tendai Mtawarira at prop for the Sharks...
66' - PENALTY converted by Sopoaga.
Sharks 18-27 Highlanders
65' - The Highlanders win a kickable penalty in front of the uprights as the Sharks are caught off side. Easy three points coming up...
63' - But their strong scrum is keeping them in it. Already two tight-heads won off Highlanders ball tonight.
62' - Handling errors really letting the Sharks down tonight...
61' - PICTURE
Sharks No 10 Tim Swiel made a few errors and was promptly replaced in the second half... (Gallo Images)
61' - Sharks hooker Kyle Cooper is down after taking a big knock to the head. He will also go off for a concussion test.
Franco Marais comes on to make his debut.
60' - It's now 15 against 15 again as Joe Wheeler is back from the sin-bin.
59' - Mtawarira breaks through in midfield like a centre, but his floating pass is dropped by Pietersen. AGAIN!
57' - Opportunity gone begging for the Sharks when JP Pietersen fails to hang onto a relatively easy pass to take...
56' - Just inside the Sharks half, Highlanders centre Malakai Fekitoa is penalised for crawling. Such a stupid thing to do!
Steyn punishes him with a monster kick up field...
54' - Jake White has had enough of the error-prone Swiel. He replaces him with Heimar Williams, which sees Frans Steyn moving to flyhalf.
53' - TWEET
Jaco Peyper the most useful South African on the park tonight - Rob Houwing
53' - No punches thrown. So nothing given. Good call by TMO and ref!
53' - Replays show Frans Steyn and Aaron Smith involved in a scuffle. Smith pushed Steyn backwards before being man-handled by the much bigger Springbok... But not much in it for me...
53' - But the Kiwis knock it under the posts. They lose their cool and the players get involved in a scuffle. Referee Peyper asks the TMO for potential foul play...
51 - SP Marais and Swiel make a horrible mess of an up-and-under and the Highlanders pounce to almost score. McLeod comes to the rescue but he takes it over the dead-ball line, which means an attacking scrum for the 'Landers.
50' - PENALTY kicked from far out by Swiel.
Sharks 18-24 Highlanders
49' - YELLOW CARD
Highlanders lock Joe Wheeler is off for 10 minutes after pulling a Sharks player down at a lineout.
The whole team was on a warning for repeating infringements when the Sharks are attacking. Good call by referee Peyper!
47' - Tera Mtembu has also replaced Etienne Oosthuizen. This means Willem Alberts will move to lock, with Mtembu to flank.
47' - Jannie du Plessis is off for good now, replaced by Lourens Adriaanse. Pace of the game getting to the doctor!
46' - The Sharks set up a driving maul - which goes on for 25m and into the Highlanders 22 - but then they lose it...
45' - Highlanders on the attack inside Sharks territory, but are again penalised for obstruction!
43' - PENALTY converted by Swiel.
Sharks 15-24 Highlanders
43' - Another kickable penalty for the Sharks as Highlanders No 9 Aaron Smith is caught off side.
Swiel to line up from about 30 out, in front...
42' - Wow, Highlanders inside centre Shaun Treeby comprehensively bumps Willem Alberts aside inside Sharks territory. Not often you see that!
But there is relief for the hosts as the 'Landers are penalised for a technical obstruction...
40' - Swiel gets the second half underway...
20:09 - PICTURE
Highlanders pivot Lima Sopoaga (Gallo Images)
FIRST HALF STATS
Metres run: Sharks 161-170 Highlanders
Carries: Sharks 49-29 Highlanders
Defenders beaten: Sharks 8-3 Highlanders
Clean breaks: Sharks 3-1 Highlanders
Tackles made: Sharks 25-41 Highlanders
Missed tackles: Sharks 3-8 Highlanders
Turnovers won: Sharks 3-5 Highlanders
Kicks in play: Sharks 12-17 Highlanders
Rucks won: Sharks 34-14 Highlanders
Rucks lost: Sharks 2-2 Highlanders
Lineouts: Sharks 5-4 Highlanders
Lineouts: Sharks 0-1 Highlanders
Scrums won: Sharks 3-4 Highlanders
Scrums lost: Sharks 1-1 Highlanders
Penalties conceded: Sharks 4-7 Highlanders
HALF-TIME: Sharks 12-24 Highlanders
40' - Big confidence boost for Swiel as he nails the PENALTY.
40' - A massive scrum by the Sharks on the stroke of half-time sees them awarded a penalty just inside the Highlanders half. The referee goes 10m further as the visitors throw the ball away.
Swiel will line up from close to the corner...
39' - TWEET
The Sharks should never have imported all those boertjies. Don't they know that Peyper beats rock? - JW Coetzee
38' - Highlanders try-scorer Shane Christie's night is up as he limps off injured, replaced by John Hardie.
37' - Oh dear, a simple knock-on in contact by Frans Steyn sees the Sharks lose the ball in a promising position inside the Highlanders 22m area. Not much working for the Sharks at present!
36' - SP Marais is also on for the Sharks, in place of Sibusiso Sithole.
36' - The Sharks look a bit at sixes and sevens after losing their skipper, Bismarck du Plessis, and flank Jean Deysel just before the game...
34' - CONVERSION from the corner by Sopoaga.
Sharks 9-24 Highlanders
32' - TRY! Highlanders No 7 Shane Christie barges over after a dominant lineout maul by the visitors.
They got into the attacking position after Willem Alberts was penalised for "hands in the ruck" on half-way...
30' - TWEET
Highlanders looking pretty damn good. Absorbing anything the Sharks throw at them, then striking when they get into Sharks half. 9-17 - Front Row Grunt
Poor strike from Swiel who pulls it to the right. Some goal-kicking worries for the Sharks here...
28' - The Sharks get a chance to hit right back when the Highlanders are penalised just outside their own 22m area...
Referee Peyper warns co-captain Nasi Manu.
"Every time we get down here, it's a penalty," Peyper tells Manu.
27' - CONVERSION by Sopoaga.
Sharks 9-17 Highlanders
26' - TRY! Scrumhalf Aaron Smith scores under the posts after darting through the Sharks defence.
It was set up by a solid scrum by the Kiwis close to the Sharks line...
23' - OUCH!
Highlanders left wing Patrick Osborne has badly injured his leg. Referee Peyper says he suspects it's a broken leg or ankle...
That could be his season done and dusted!
Trent Renata replaces him. He is one of only two backline replacements for the visitors - a clear indication of how badly they want to win the battle up front.
23' - A promising Highlanders attack close to the Sharks 22m area ends when they knock it on...
20' - PENALTY converted by Swiel.
Sharks 9-10 Highlanders.
20' - Frans Steyn misses a long-range drop attempt but referee Peyper goes back for another easy kickable penalty. He deems the Highlanders to be off-side.
19' - Good news for the Sharks. Jannie du Plessis has passed his concussion test and is back on. Big boost for the hosts who have already lost brother Bismarck!
19' - CONVERSION by Sopoaga, who gets it over, off the left-hand upright.
Sharks 6-10 Highlanders
18' - TRY! Right wing Richard Buckman follows up a brilliant cross-kick to score close to the touchline. His first Super Rugby try.
It was preceded by the Kiwis attacking from halfway...
13' - PENALTY converted by Swiel.
Sharks 6-3 Highlanders.
12' - While it's all Sharks here, there are some concerns over prop Jannie du Plessis, who is down after taking a bad knock to the head. Looks like his neck is also injured.
He will go off for a concussion test, with Lourens Adriaanse replacing him for the moment.
12' - The Sharks win a penalty in front of the posts when Highlanders No 8 Nasi Manu comes in from the side at a ruck.
Swiel to line up....
10' - Swiel misses his attempt to the right. Lets hope it doesn't start affecting him as badly as it did last week...
9' - Sharks right back on the attack and win another penalty in range. Swiel lines up from close to the touchline...
8' - TWEET
Sorry but I don't agree with that call. Perfectly legitimate clean. Should have been a try to vroom-vroom. #ssrugby - Brenden Nel
7' - PENALTY converted by Swiel from close to the touchline.
Sharks 3-3 Highlanders
7' - The Sharks are upset with the decision, but they do have a penalty for an earlier transgression...
7' - NO TRY! It is adjudged that a Sharks player held back a Highlanders player at a ruck.
Paul Jordaan is the culprit who allowed Charl McLeod to break through next to the touchline before passing in-field to Mvovo.
6' - Lwazi Mvovo thinks he's scored for the Sharks, but referee Jaco Peyper goes back for a potential forward pass and possible obstruction. TMO to decide...
4' - A knock-on right on the Highlanders goal-line halts the Sharks' charge...
3' - A great attacking chance for the Sharks now as All Black No 9 Aaron Smith drops the ensuing kick-off.
2' - PENALTY converted by Lima Sopoaga.
Sharks 0-3 Highlanders
1' - The Highlanders win a kickable penalty after the Sharks are penalised at the first scrum of the game.
They'll definitely miss Bismarck in there tonight!
0' - Lima Sopoaga starts play. Jaco Peyper is the referee.
19:10 - The 'Landers are playing in their green away kit tonight.
19:10 - Jean Deysel is also out injured. Willem Alberts goes to flank, with Etienne Oosthuizen at lock. Tera Mtembu is on the bench.
19:08 - BISMARCK OUT!
The Sharks have lost captain Bismarck du Plessis shortly before the game. Kyle Cooper starts at hooker with Charl McLeod taking over as captain.
Franco Marais is the hooker on the bench.
19:05 - CONDITIONS
It's a perfect evening for rugby in Durban. Only a little bit of a breeze...
19:00 - HEAD-TO-HEAD: Sharks v Highlanders
Since 1998: Sharks won 9, lost 6; scored 355 points, conceded 367; scored 40 tries, conceded 39.
Average score: 24-24!
18:50 - TWEET
Sharks have been superb on defence, conceded competition-low nine tries all season, which equates to one try every 71 minutes - South African Rugby
18:40 - TON UP FOR KEEGAN DANIEL
Keegan Daniel is set to become the 27th South African, and 5th current Sharks player to reach 100 Super Rugby caps.
He'll be off to Japan after this year's Super Rugby competition.
18:37 - SAD SPORTS NEWS
News just reaching the Sport24 offices is that former Barcelona coach, Tito Vilanova, has passed away at the age of 45 after losing his battle with throat cancer.
May he rest in peace...
CLICK HERE to read the full story.
18:27 - I went Sharks by 8 for this game - should be a safe pick I reckon...
18:25 - Big night for Sharks flyhalf Tim Swiel. He struggled with his goal-kicking against the Cheetahs last week and it also seemed to affect his general play. But Director of Rugby Jake White has given him another chance for tonight's game. He needs to make full use of it. But taking a look at the respective forward packs, the Sharks should have the upper hand, which would mean a lot of ball for Swiel. He needs to make full use of it...
18:10 - VODACOM CUP RESULT
The EP Kings have just beaten the Sharks XV 27-11 in the curtain-raiser.
SPORT24 'EXPERT' PICKS
Sport24's self-proclaimed experts - Editor Garrin Lambley and Chief Writer Rob Houwing - give you their thoughts on today's match.
Click HERE to listen to their thoughts...
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Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
2013: Highlanders won 25-22, Dunedin
2012: Sharks won 28-16, Durban
2010: Sharks won 30-16, Dunedin
2009: Sharks won 23-15, Durban
2008: Sharks won 19-17, Dunedin
2007: Sharks won 23-16, Durban
15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Tera Mtembu, 20 Ryan Kankowski, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 SP Marais
15 Ben Smith, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames
Substitutes:16 Ged Robinson, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Ma'afu Fia, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Trent Renata, 23 John Hardie
Welcome to Sport24's LIVE scoring and interactive commentary on today's Super Rugby match between the Sharks and Highlanders in Durban!