The Sharks got a big win against  the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday. Photo: Joe Allison / www.Photosport.nz
The Sharks got a big win against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday. Photo: Joe Allison / www.Photosport.nz

Sharks are on top down under with good win over Highlanders

By Mike Greenaway Time of article published Feb 7, 2020

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The Sharks are on top Down Under after crushing the Highlanders 42-20 in Dunedin on Friday thanks to a ruthless display of counter-attacking rugby.

The Sharks scored five tries — including two each for the relentless scoring machines Makazole Mapimpi and Aphelele Fassi — thanks to turnovers affected at the breakdown.

The Sharks were also very efficient on defence with their line speed out wide frustrating the home teams as they attempted to use the width of the field on attack.

In the off-season, the Sharks focussed heavily on the breakdown as being their first line of defence and it is paying handsome dividends, with openside flanker James Venter exceptional in this regard and he was rewarded with the first try of the match following a storming 50m run.

That try on 30 minutes broke the deadlock — the teams had been level on 3-3 — and the Sharks quickly ran in two more converted tries to hold an unassailable 27-3 half time lead.

The Highlanders scored twice early in the second half to narrow the deficit to 30-15 but the Sharks responded by moving up a gear to score two tries (by Fassi) in the last ten minutes for an emphatic victory.

Highlanders – Tries: Dillon Hunt, Jona Nareki, Michael Collins. Conversion: Mitch Hunt. Penalty: Mitch Hunt.

Sharks – Tries: James Venter, Makazole Mapimpi (2), Aphelele Fassi (2).  Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4). Penalties: Bosch (3).

Mike Greenaway

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