MELBOURNE – The Sharks’ struggles this season went from bad to worse as they suffered a humbling 46-14 loss against the Rebels in their Super Rugby match Melbourne on Friday.
After five games this year, the Sharks have now suffered four defeats, while there is no doubt that this loss to the Rebels will be the most painful of the lot.
The Sharks were outclassed from start to finish, with basic errors and ill-discipline proving extremely costly as the Rebels powered to another victory that underlines their status as the leading Australian side this season.
The Rebels made the ideal start to proceedings as Reece Hodge slotted an early penalty before hooker Anaru Rangi barged over for the opening try in the 11th minute after the hosts had set up a driving lineout 5m from the tryline.
Matters looked to be going from bad to worse for the Sharks when Rebels winger Sefa Naivalu looked to have scored soon after, but an obstruction was quite correctly spotted in the lead-up.
Nevertheless, the Sharks’ nightmare opening quarter as fullback Curwin Bosch was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on at a time when the Rebels were once again looking extremely threatening on attack.
However, the Rebels failed to score any points in Bosch’s absence, while the Sharks then created a beautiful try for Lwazi Mvovo in the 28th minute after some deft handling from several players.
It would prove to be just a temporary reprieve for the Sharks, though, as the Rebels once again turned to their impressive driving lineout as Rangi barged over to score just before the break.
Jack Debreczeni extended the Rebels’ lead with a penalty soon after the restart, while Will Genia then finished off his side’s third try to open up a commanding 25-7 lead just before the hour mark.
The Rebels continued to pile on the punishment as Billy Meakes and Ross Haylett-Petty added to the home team’s try tally as the Sharks resolve well and truly began to fade.
Although the visitors would grab a late consolation try to Marius Louw, the humiliation was complete when Fereti Sa’aga dotted down for one final five-pointer.
Rebels 46 (15): Tries: Anaru Rangi (2), Will Genia, Billy Meakes, Ross Haylett-Petty, Fereti Sa’aga. Conversions: Reece Hodge, Jack Debreczeni (4). Penalties: Hodge, Debreczeni.
Sharks 14 (7): Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Marius Louw. Conversions: Rob du Preez, Curwin Bosch.
African News Agency (ANA)