Cape Town - The Stormers have beaten the Sharks 21-19 in the first of two pre-season Super Rugby friendlies forming part of Super Hero Sunday at FNB Stadium in Soweto.
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Both sides were more than willing to give the ball air in the opening exchanges but it was the Sharks who thought they had opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Sbu Nkosi forced his way over in the right-hand corner. On closer inspection the referee ruled, somewhat controversially, that he had lost the ball forward.
The Stormers took the lead in the 26th minute when Herschel Jantjies cantered over from a ruck five metres from the Sharks line without a defender touching him.
Damian Willemse added the conversion for the Cape-based frachise to lead 7-0.
Springbok World Cup hero Makazole Mapimpi then got the Sharks on the board after collecting a kick-ahead from Lukhanyo Am and blitzing the Stormers defence to crash over in the left-hand corner.
Curwin Bosch couldn't add the conversion as the Stormers led 7-5 in the 33rd minute and that's the way it stayed until the half-time break.
The second half started with Aphelele Fassi carving his way throught the Stormers defence to score under the posts in the 45th minute but the try was rightly disallowed for Ox Nche taking out a Stormers defender.
But the Sharks had the lead soon after with Fassi again involved as he sent Mapimpi away down the left hand touchline for a brilliant try which Bosch converted to put the Durban side 12-7 up in the 49th minute.
Not to be outdone, Jantjies put the Stormers back into a 14-12 lead in the 53rd minute thanks to a converted try after he took a brilliant intercept just as it seemed the Sharks had worked some space in their own half.
The Stormers increased that lead in the 71st minute when replacement scrumhalf Godlen Masimla scored near the posts after collecting a kick-ahead following a searing break by winger Sergeal Petersen.
Replacement flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis converted as the Cape-side led 21-12 with under 10 minutes remaining.
But the Sharks were not done and Marius Louw cut that lead to 21-19 after he collected a clever kick ahead by Boeta Chamberlain to score a converted try under the posts.
Although they applied pressure at the end, the Sharks just couldn't find the winning score as the Stormers held on for the win.
Tries: Makazole Mapimpi (2), Marius Louw
Conversions: Curwin Bosch, Boeta Chamberlain
Tries: Herschel Jantjies (2), Godlen Masimla
Conversions: Damian Willemse (2), Jean-Luc Du Plessis
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Henco Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Dylan Richardson, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Ruben van Heerden, 21 James Venter, 22 Tera Mtembu, 23 Sanele Nohamba, 24 Boeta Chamberlain, 25 Jeremy Ward, 26 Marius Louw, 27 Madosh Tambwe, 28 Lwazi Mvovo
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Siya Kolisi (captain), 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 David Meihuizen, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Thys Kitshoff, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 24 Seabelo Senatla, 25 Michal Hazner, 26 David Kriel