Cape Town - The Sharks produced a dominant performance to run out 45-10 winners against a hapless Sunwolves in Singapore on Saturday.
As it happened: Sunwolves v Sharks
The Durbanites, who led 24-10 at half-time, ran in six tries to the solitary score of the Japanese side.
The Sunwolves were the first to cross the whitewash in the ninth minute, very much against the run of play.
Some creativity from within their own half saw flyhalf Hayden Parker chip over the defence and the bounce of the ball was favourable for South African centre Shane Gates, who streaked home unchallenged.
A patient Sharks outfit then rumbled over the line minutes later from a lineout drive - with hooker Akker van der Merwe scoring - and a successful conversion tied things up at 10-all.
But the class of the Sharks began to shine through near the end of the half, resulting in two converted tries in five minutes. First, a rumbling maul would result in Dan du Preez extending his arm over the tryline. Then four minutes later, his brother Robert was involved in a text-book backline move that saw winger S’bu Nkosi dot down in the corner.
Just minutes into the second half, centre Lukhanyo Am sent winger Makazole Mapimpi tiptoeing down the sideline for another score in the corner, moving the score along to 31-10.
The forward dominance continued from the visitors while the penalty count increased for the Sunwolves, resulting in James Moore getting a yellow card in the 61st minute.
In a carbon copy of the Sharks' opening try, Van der Merwe secured his brace thanks to his superior forward pack.
The Sharks showed much attacking prowess via the backline as well. Running the ball from deep and linking up with support, replacement scrumhalf Cameron Wright eventually put fellow benchwarmer Jeremy Ward away in the 72nd minute, to round off a solid performance for the men from Durban.
Next Saturday, the Sharks host the Blues in Durban (February 23), while the Sunwolves entertain the Waratahs.
Try: Shane GatesConversion: Hayden Parker
Tries: Akker van der Merwe (2), Daniel du Preez, S’bu Nkosi, Makazole Mapimpi, Jeremy Ward
Conversions: Robert du Preez (5), Rhyno Smith
Penalty: Du Preez
15 Gerhard van den Heever, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Shane Gates, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Ed Quirk, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 James Moore, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Asaeli Valu, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Craig Millar (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Awe Helu, 20 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Michael Little
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Rhyno Smith, 23 Jeremy Ward