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Sharks hold off fierce Edinburgh onslaught to record priceless away win


Sharks speedster Thaakir Abrahams celebrates. (Photo by: Harry Murphy/SPORTSFILE/Getty Images)

Sharks speedster Thaakir Abrahams celebrates. (Photo by: Harry Murphy/SPORTSFILE/Getty Images)

The Sharks weathered the mother-of-late rugby storms to procure a priceless 22-19 win against Edinburgh at the DAM Health Stadium in the Scottish capital on Saturday.

The Sharks were put under massive pressure in the past five minutes, but not only repelled the hosts but did so with some physicality and panache to clean up South Africa’s rather blotted United Rugby Championship copybook this week.

RECAP | URC – Edinburgh v Sharks

The win, the Sharks’ seventh of the season, was huge from a log perspective as it moved them above Edinburgh to eighth place on the log with 33 points.

In a game that moved with a hi-octane pace from the start, it was the Sharks who had the mental and physical grunt to keep the desperate hosts at bay.

The Sharks started the game in the best possible manner when scrumhalf Grant Williams snaffled an intercept and raced away for the game’s first try in the fifth minute.

It was the start of a period of dominance for the visitors, who were able to move the ball at will in the first 20 minutes and also ask pressing questions of their hosts on defence.

One of those moments was a wide movement from the Sharks that saw Springbok prop Retshegofaditswe ‘Ox’ Nche gaining metres on the outside before offloading to Williams.

The nippy scrumhalf was reeled in just before the line, but illegal work at the ruck from Edinburgh wing Wes Goosen saw him yellow-carded in the 16th minute.

The Sharks made the most of this advantage three minutes later when they moved the ball wide for winger Marnus Potgieter to score.

Inexplicably, the Sharks chose to play a fast and loose game that ceded the advantage back to the hosts, who scored an excellent team try through hooker Adam McBurney in the 28th minute.

The momentum was with the hosts, who then dictated proceedings, and from a 50:22 touch-finder by Bulls-bound fullback Henry Immelman, McBurney crossed over from a rolling maul in the 36th minute.

The scores were equalised as Charlie Savala converted both tries, but the home side came up with a gem of a coast-to-coast try through Immelman three minutes later.

It was a spectacular turnaround from the hosts and their halftime lead was deserved, but they just couldn’t crack the Sharks’ much-improved defence for the better part of the second half.

The visitors narrowed the deficit to three points through a Curwin Bosch penalty in the 43rd minute, and they weathered whatever their hosts threw at them.

They also picked and chose their moments to keep the game tight and when they did, they made things difficult for the hosts.

They eventually scored in the 61st minute from a rolling maul through hooker Kerron van Vuuren, but five minutes later, they conceded a yellow card when Carlu Sadie was binned for an illegal cleanout.

Before Sadie was yellow-carded, the Sharks should have scored, but replacement prop Ntuthuko Mchunu had white-line fever and didn’t pass to Hyron Andrews on his outside.

The Sharks weathered the late storm, including three late penalties and two rolling mauls, to avenge last year’s disappointing home defeat.


Edinburgh: (19) 19

Tries: Adam McBurney (2), Henry Immelman

Conversions: Charlie Savala (2)

Sharks: (14) 22

Tries: Grant Williams, Marnus Potgieter, Kerron van Vuuren

Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2)

Penalty: Bosch

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