The Sharks overcame a half-time deficit to claim a 36-30 victory over Edinburgh and become the first South African side to reach the Challenge Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

Edinburgh started brighter, putting the Sharks under pressure with a clever kick off.

However, they were met with a resolute Sharks defence and twice accepted three point rewards for their early incursions into the hosts 22 top lead 0-6.

Edinburgh start fast

Sharks flyhalf Siya Masuku inexplicably missed a kick from straight in front in between the penalty goals of Ben Healy for Edinburgh.

The Sharks showed they could turn it on in attack from just about anywhere on the park and a superb try from Lukhanyo Am was set up by Makazole Mapimpi in a try that almost mirrored Mapimpi’s try in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

Fantastic hands were on display from the Sharks for their second score, completed by James Venter but in a move that involved the entire 15 in one way or another.

Edinburgh hit back though with a Try from Pierre Schoeman coming after Eben Etzebeth saw yellow with the referee having warned the Sharks following persistent infringements close to their line.

The Scottish outfit hit the lead with time up in the first half, as Healy slotted his third penalty kick to make it 14-16 at the break.

Sharks boss second half

The Sharks made a dominant start to the second half and played smart rugby as they took points on offer despite looking very dangerous with the ball in hand.

Masuku kicked the Sharks back into the lead eight minutes into the second half and gave them a four-point lead just three minutes later. 

A try from Bongi Mbonambi proved the decisive moment as the Sharks were able to dictate the game from there.

The Sharks might feel they should have finished better but Masuku kicked well in the second half and followed up Mbonambi’s try with another two penalty goals. On 70 minutes the Sharks had scored 19 unanswered second half points and with a 36-16 lead the match looked safe.

A try from Hamish Watson in the 74th minute made things interesting but Edinburgh were already a beaten side when Dave Cherry crossed at the tail of a rolling maul after the hooter.

Healy’s conversion of that try brought Edinburgh up to a respectable 30 but the Sharks had the game won and could be forgiven for not risking too much to stop their opponents from getting a mere consolation score.

Masuku got the nod for man of the match but the Sharks had plenty of heroes. Werner Kok’s dogged determination was on show once again. Ox Nche and Vincent Koch powered a dominant scrum.

The Sharks still seem like a team that is likely to sabotage itself with errors but they are finding their swagger.


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