Durban - A solid first-half display from the Highlanders against an
injury-disrupted Sharks proved to be key as the Super Rugby leaders were
stunned 34-18 at Kings Park in Durban on Friday night.As it happened: Sharks v Highlanders
Buckman, Aaron Smith and Shane Christie all scored tries in the opening
40 minutes, before Malakai Fekitoa's superb solo score wrapped up the
Tim Swiel kicked all the points for the hosts, who suffered a
first home loss of the season in their final game before a tough tour
to Australasia starting next week.
The Sharks, who stayed top of
the log despite the loss, were dealt a blow before kick-off when captain
Bismarck du Plessis and Jean Deysel were ruled out through injury with
Kyle Cooper and Ettienne Oosthuizen drafted in.
began well by taking the lead inside three minutes when the home side
were penalised at the scrum, allowing Lima Sopoaga to slot over.
the restart, Aaron Smith knocked on allowing the Sharks their first
attack, and when the ball was spread to the left, Lwazi Mvovo thought he
had scored the opening try, only for television official Shaun Veldsman
to rule that Charl McLeod's pass was forward.
However, advantage was being played for a breakdown infringement and Tim Swiel levelled the score in the seventh minute.
rookie number 10 missed his second kick at goal from wide on the right
when Patrick Osborne erred, but made amends by putting his side in front
after 14 minutes when Nasi Manu was caught making a side entry at the
The Highlanders, though, grabbed the opening try after 16
minutes when Buckman did excellently to finish Shaun Treeby's superb
grubber kick that pierced open the home defence on the right.
penalty straight after the restart, this time for off-side against the
New Zealanders, allowed Swiel to cut the gap to one, although more
relentless pressure cut open the Sharks defence for a second time after
27 minutes as Aaron Smith went in under the posts.
Swiel squandered another penalty, the competition pace-setters were
shocked when Christie was on the end of a huge maul from the visitors
leaving the home crowd dumbstruck at 24-9 after only 34 minutes.
Fortunately, Swiel found his range with a tough kick after the hooter leaving the deficit at 12 at the changeover.
White's men needed a big second half and they got the perfect start
with Swiel landing three more points after Ben Smith failed to roll
Things got better for them when Joseph Wheeler received a
yellow card for playing the man in the air at an attacking line-out - Swiel bringing the gap to just six.
The Durbanites failed to
capitalise on their man advantage, with the Otago side taking the lead
back to nine points with 14 minutes to play through another Sopoaga
Fekitoa then scored the try of the game when he
collected the ball on the halfway mark and weaved his way through a
whole host of players, before touching down close to the post to seal
the bonus-point point try and with it, the win.Scorers:
Sharks: 18 - Penalties: Tim Swiel (6)Teams:
Highlanders: 34 - Tries: Richard Buckman, Aaron Smith, Shane Christie, Malakai Fekitoa; Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (4); Penalties: Sopoaga (2)
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