The Sharks climbed to the top of the overall Super Rugby standings when they beat the Jaguares 33-19 in Durban on Saturday.
The home side dominated the game for large periods and they outscored their opponents by four tries to three in hot and humid conditions at Kings Park.
The Sharks opened the scoring in the fourth minute when lock Hyron Andrews collected a neat tap-pass from Andre Esterhuizen to run in and evade a couple of defenders for a fantastic try.
Flyhalf Curwin Bosch was unable to convert from a difficult angle.
The home side thought they were in again three minutes later when wing Makazole Mapimpi collected a pin-point cross-kick from Bosch before running a for a score. However, play was brought back for a knock-on by a Sharks player in the build-up.
Despite that setback, there was just no stopping the Sharks in open play and they soon got that second try when No.8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe was put into space from a quick-tap penalty to sprint in for the score. Bosch added the extra two points and the Sharks were 12-0 ahead after 10 minutes.
The Jaguares got their first points in the 18th minute after wing Santiago Carreras did well to collect Joaquin Diaz Bonilla’s cross-kick in the Sharks’22 before diving over for the try.
Bosch made it a 10-point ball game in the 23rd minute with a penalty before a moment of brilliance from Aphelele Fassi helped set up the Sharks’ third try.
The fullback split the Jaguares’ defence into two in the midfield and then chipped and gathered the ball before being tackled in the Jaguares’ 22. The ball then went wide to centre Andre Esterhuizen, who went over in the corner for a fantastic try.
Bosch converted the try for a 17-point lead.
However, the Jaguares stayed in touch in the 36th minute when fullback Joaquin Tuculet ran in for his team’s third try after a patient build-up in the Sharks’ 22.
At half-time it was 22-12 in favour of the Sharks.
It was the perfect start to the second half for the Sharks with Bosch converting two penalties into six points for a 16-point lead after 48 minutes.
And a few minutes later they gave the Jaguares a taste of their own medicine when hooker Kerron van Vuuren scored the Sharks’ fourth try after a powerful driving maul deep in the Jaguares’ 22.
Things went from bad to worse for the Jaguares in the 61st minute when scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou was yellow carded for some cynical play.
The Sharks also had a man in the bin in 74th minute when Aphelele Fassi was yellow carded for a late hit with no arms.
It was the visitors who had a final say in the match when Sebastian Cancelliere powered his way over the tryline after sustained pressure in the Sharks’ half.
Man of the match: Sikhumbuzo Notshe had another outstanding match with ball in hand and he was one of his team’s try-scorers. Curwin Bosch was also fantastic in controlling the game from flyhalf. However, the award goes to fullback Aphelele Fassi, who cut up the Jaguares’ defence on a few occasions with his pace out wide. He also had a hand in one of his team’s tries.
Tries: Andrews, Notshe, Esterhuizen, Van Vuuren
Cons: Bosch 2
Pens: Bosch 3
Tries: Carreras, Tuculet, Cancelliere
Cons: Bonilla, Miotti
Yellow card: Gonzalo Bertranou (Jaguares, 61 – cynical play); Aphelele Fassi (Sharks, 74 – foul play, tackle with no arms)
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 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
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Madosh Tambwe.
15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Carreras, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo
De La Fuente (captain), 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9
Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Tomas Lezana, 5
Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti Pagadizaval, 3 Joel Sclavi, 2 Julian
Montoya, 1 Mayco Vivas.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Lucas Paulos, 20 Santiago Grondona, 21 Sebastian Cancelliere, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Santiago Chocobares.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa)
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans (South Africa)