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The Sharks moved to the top of the South African group by beating the Stormers 13-18 at Newlands in Cape Town.
The result means that the Sharks join the Brumbies as the only other unbeaten team in the tournament after three rounds.
The Sharks work in the second half won the match for them as the Stormers led 10-3 at half time.
The visiting side outscored the Stormers 3-15 in the second half which keeps the Sharks record in tact.
Two early scrum penalties against the Stormers proved disruptive. The heavier Sharks pack looked particularly strong on the loosehead side where Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira seemed to be troubling Frans Malherbe opposite him.
This platform gave the Sharks to wrest the initiative but the Stormers responded well with stout defence.
The opening 10 minutes was a bruising affair with some big hits, and notably, one barnstorming run by Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth flattened Sharks tighthead Coenie Oosthuizen in the process.
The Stormers managed to impose themselves on the game after 20 minutes but they couldn’t find their way through the Sharks’ defence lines. Two handling errors by the Stormers at around this time put paid to promising sorties in the Sharks’ 22m area.
The flyhalves, Kurt Coleman (Stormers) and Joe Pietersen (Sharks) were both on target with penalty attempts in the space of three minutes for a three-all scoreline after 19 minutes.
Eventually, a touch of magic by Stormers fullback Cheslin Kolbe brought a change of fortunes for the hosts as his deft chip kick over the Sharks’ backline was picked up magnificently by leftwing Leolin Zas who ran in to score the opening try in the 28th minute. Coleman goaled splendidly from the touchline.
The Sharks looked to bounce back in ensuing play and twice they ran the ball up to the Stormers’ 22m area but they too were undone by poor handling at crucial stages.
In the play leading up to the halftime break, the Sharks exerted great pressure but the Stormers saw to it that their seven-point lead remained intact by the time the teams retreated to the dressing room.
Five minutes after the restart the Sharks made good a strong start although they will have to thank the timely intervention of television match official Marius Jonker, who ruled that Stormers flank Siya Kolisi had kicked the ball out of the hand of Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach as he attempted to score.
Television replays showed that Reinach lost the ball as he caught the boot of Kolisi in his scoring attempt. To add insult to injury, Kolisi was sin-binned.
Mike Fraser, the New Zealand referee, awarded a penalty try on the recommendation of Jonker, and Pietersen added two more points with the conversion in the 46th minute (10-10).
The seven-pointer seemed to induce a fresh sense of urgency in the Sharks’ ranks and they attacked the Stormers defence lines relentlessly.
One of many flashpoints in the match came to a head in the 56th minute when referee Frazier called for a TMO review of some rough and tumble play but nothing came of the review.
On the hour mark, Pietersen goaled brilliantly from the halfway line to give the Sharks the lead for the first time in the match.
As the match wound towards the end, the visiting Sharks grew in stature and pinned the Stormers down in their half for sustained passages of play. However, the Stormers prevented further damage by bossing the Sharks at breakdown play.
With six minutes playing time left, the Sharks surrendered their slender lead when Coleman goaled a penalty which was awarded after a dangerous tackle on Stormers No 8 Schalk Burger.
At the death, JP Pietersen, the Sharks’ left-wing, fielded a poor clearance from Coleman and set off on a run which he rounded off clinically with a scoring pass to his namesake Joe Pietersen who went over for an unconverted try.
Next week the Stormers host the Brumbies and the Sharks travel to Pretoria to face the Bulls.
Marcell Coetzee was named man of the match.
Final Score Stormers 13 (10) Sharks 18 (3)
Tries – L.Zas
Pen – K.Coleman 2
Con – K.Coleman
Cards – S.Kolisi (45th min yellow)
Tries – Penalty try, JP.Pietersen
Pen – J.Pietersen 2
Con – J.Pietersen 2
Attendance : 31 372
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1:Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 2:Stuart Berry
TMO :Marius Jonker
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Huw Jones.
15. Willie Le Roux, 14. Odwa Ndungane , 13. Paul Jordaan , 12. Andre Esterhuizen , 11. JP Pietersen , 10. Joe Pietersen , 9. Cobus Reinach 8. Daniel du Preez , 7. Jean-Luc du Preez , 6. Marcell Coetzee , 5. Stephan Lewies , 4. Etienne Oosthuizen , 3. Coenie Oosthuizen , 2. Franco Marais , 1. Tendai Mtawarira (C)
Replacements:16. Kyle Cooper ,17. Juan Schoeman,18. Lourens Adriaanse,19. Hyron Andrews,20. Philip van der Walt,21. Michael Claassens,22. Garth April,23. S’bura Sithole
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