Leaking two soft tries five minutes before the halftime break proved costly for the Sharks who slipped to their third Vodacom Super 12 rugby defeat at the Absa Stadium as a 17 points lead evaporated in a flash and set the pattern for a five tries to two triumph for the Hurricanes of New Zealand.

The Sharks were eclipsed 35-20 in the end. The Hurricanes scored five goals to earn the bonus point against two goals, a penalty goal and a drop goal.

The Sharks, after leading 17-14 at halftime, simply disintegrated in the second period when they were hit by a Hurricanes blitz.

They were all but blown away by the speed and skills of the New Zealanders who had a rampant second spell.

Before that they had managed two sparkling tries of their own to flank Luke Watson and wing Wylie Human with flyhalf Brent Russell converting both and kicking a penalty as the Sharks were in early control.

In the second half centre Trevor Halstead managed a flat-footed drop goal for the Sharks only score in this period although they did get close to the Hurricanes line towards the end of the game.

But the real early damage to the Sharks pride and confidence was done with those two tries just before half time.

Skipper and centre Tana Umaga set up the sudden surge by making the first try for replacement lock Christian Ormsby and then scored one of his own specialist weave and run tries.

In the second half it was wizard fullback Christian Cullen who destroyed the Sharks in a period of sheer brilliance as he scored two tries of individualistic class and set up the bonus point try for wing Lome Fa'atau with a perfectly timed bolo pass.

Flyhalf David Holwell, who missed a first half penalty, then slotted over five conversions in a row.

Ironically the Hurricanes heroes Cullen and Ormsby both spent 10 minutes in the sin bin. Cullen was the first to be yellow carded when he unfairly pulled down Charl van Rensburg on the Hurricanes line and then in the second half a high tackle on Russell had Ormsby following his teammate off the field for a compulsory rest.

But even with 14 men the yellow-shirted blitzkrieg generated by the Hurricanes storm had Sharks defenders knocked asunder like ten pins.

Those five tries were just reward as the Sharks ran out of steam. Plagued by injuries before the start of the game they got a couple more to add to their list on Friday night and that should have coach Kevin Putt beset by worries about who he can field next Friday against the high riding Highlanders before he has to take his team down under.

Individually there were some fine Sharks performances especially in the first 35 minutes when a home victory seemed more likely than not. Scrumhalf Craig Davidson played his heart out. So did Luke Watson and the forwards worked hard as a unit until they were swamped in the second period. Brent Russell, deputising for the injured Butch James, was quite nippy at first but after the Ormsby tackle he was replaced and that simply was that as far as the Sharks were concerned.

Scorers:

  • Sharks: Tries: Luke Watson, Wylie Human

    Conversions : Brent Russell (2)

    Penalties: Brent Russell (1)

    Drop Goals: Trevor Halstead (1)

  • Hurricanes: Tries: Christian Ormsby, Tana Umaga, Christian Cullen (2), Lome Fa'atau

    Conversions: David Holwell (5)

    - Sapa