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    Sharks start tour on a high with Highlanders mauling

    2020-02-07 09:50

    Cape Town - South Africa's Rugby World Cup hero Makazole Mapimpi scored a double as the Sharks outclassed the Highlanders 42-20 in Dunedin on Friday.

    As it happened | Highlanders v Sharks

    The Sharks posted five tries to three, with wing Mapimpi - who became the first Springbok to score a try in a World Cup final during last year's triumph in Japan - crossing twice just before half-time to give his team the advantage.

    Fullback Aphelele Fassi then scored a brace of his own shortly before the full-time siren to snuff out a Highlanders' fightback.

    The result gives the Sharks two wins from two after a 23-15 victory over the Bulls last week.

    "The boys played for each other. The work rate and the defence were great," captain Lukhanyo Am said.

    "The Highlanders managed to put us under pressure but we bounced back."

    Highlanders skipper Rob Thompson said a home side featuring six debutants made too many errors at crucial moments.

    "Unfortunately we let them off too much," he said.

    "But we're a young team and we have a few boys debuting. Unfortunately we couldn't get it done for them but we'll be better for it."

    The Highlanders had a bye last week and looked rusty in their first outing of the season, gifting the Sharks early attacking opportunities with knock-ons and poor lineouts.

    The match appeared to be settling into a tightly contested arm wrestle before the Sharks sparked to life, snatching three converted tries in seven minutes to take a 27-3 lead at the break.

    The first came when flanker James Venter outpaced the Highlanders defence in a race for the line, before Mapimpi twice found himself on the end of passing moves that left the Highlanders' tacklers flailing.

    The Highlanders were much improved after the break and scored three tries but Fassi's late double ended any prospect of a comeback.

    In next weekend's action, the Sharks tackle the Hurricanes in Wellington (February 15 - 08:05 SA time), while the Highlanders face the Brumbies in Canberra (February 15 - 10:15 SA time).

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    Scorers:

    Highlanders

    Tries: Dillon Hunt, Jona Nareki, Michael Collins
    Conversion: Mitch Hunt
    Penalty: Mitch Hunt

    Sharks

    Tries: James Venter, Makazole Mapimpi (2), Aphelele Fassi (2)
    Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4)
    Penalties: Bosch (3)

    Teams:

    Highlanders

    15 Josh McKay, 14 Tima Fainga’anuku, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Josh Ioane, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 7 James Lentjes (captain), 6 Dillon Hunt, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone

    Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Michael Collins, 23 Teariki Ben-Nicholas

    Sharks

    15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche

    Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Boeta Chamberlain, 23 Jeremy Ward

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    Fixtures

    Friday, 28 February 2020
    • Highlanders v Rebels, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:05
    • Waratahs v Lions, Bankwest Stadium 10:15
    Saturday, 29 February 2020
    • Hurricanes v Sunwolves, McLean Park 05:45
    • Reds v Sharks, Suncorp Stadium 10:15
    • Stormers v Blues, Cape Town 15:05
    • Bulls v Jaguares, Loftus Versfeld 17:15
    Friday, 06 March 2020
    • Crusaders v Reds, Orangetheory Stadium 08:05
    • Waratahs v Chiefs, WIN Stadium 10:15

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