The Sharks got back to winning ways with a 36-24 win over the Rebels on Saturday in Ballarat.
The win is the Sharks’ second victory on tour after last weekend’s crashing to the Hurricanes in their first loss of the season.
While for the Rebels, their quest for successive Super Rugby wins has fallen frustratingly short.
Playing their first match in country Victoria, the Rebels were looking to back up their impressive breakthrough win over the Waratahs.
They were in the hunt early on before being ultimately outplayed by the Durban-based side, with Springboks wing Makozole Mapimpi scoring two tries among their haul of five.
The World Cup winner could have had a hat-trick but opted to give the ball to Curwin Bosch after a brilliant 95-metre counter-attacking score was set-up by stand-in captain Andre Esterhuizen and Bosch.
The period either side of halftime proved crucial, with the Sharks scoring a try in the 39th minute when flyhalf Bosch’s long cut-out pass found Madosh Tambwe for the try.
Bosch’s successful conversion gave the visitors a 22-10 lead into the break.
Soon after halftime, the Sharks found themselves down to 13 men, with hooker Kerron Van Vuuren yellow-carded for a tip tackle on Marika Koroibete.
Four minutes later Tambwe joined him on the sidelines.
But the Sharks smartly wind down valuable minutes on the clock, making the most of the Rebels’ decision to elect for a scrum.
Eventually, Rebels were only able to secure one try, scored through Isi Naisarani, despite the big numerical advantage.
The 49th-minute conversion brought the margin to five points but that was as close as the Rebels got, as the Sharks kicked away.
Sean Everitt’s troops went 19 phases before Mapimpi stretched for his second score. While, Esterhuizen, Bosch and Mapimpi all combined for the flyhalf’s 72nd-minute try, which killed the game.
Unfortunately, for the Sharks, Rebels hooker Anaru Rangi crossed in the 78th minute to make the margin more respectable and deny the South Africans a bonus-point win.
Man of the match: Aphelele Fassi continued to build on his impressive campaign. He was lethal on attack as he set up a few of Sharks’ tries. Curwin Bosch, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Makazole Mapimpi are the others who deserve a mention. However, our nod goes to stand-in captain Andre Esterhuizen. The centre was not only instrumental on attack, but his defence also proved to a vital, making a couple of huge tackles and stealing a few balls.
Tries: Koroibete, Naisarani, Rangi
Cons: Deegan 3
Tries: Mapimpi 2, Esterhuizen, Tambwe, Bosch
Cons: Bosch 3
Yellow card: Kerron van Vuuren (Sharks, 41 – dangerous tackle), Madosh Tambwe (Sharks, 45 – offside)
Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay,
12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Andrew Deegan, 9 Ryan Louwrens,
8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Matt Philip, 4
Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Steven Misa, 1 Matt Gibbon.
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Rob Leota, 22 Frank Lomani, 23 Tom English.
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Andre Esterhuizen (captain), 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 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.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.