The Sharks finally put together a performance consistent with the squad talent to hammer the Highlanders 38-12 in Durban.
Robert du Preez scored 18 points, which included one of the Sharks five tries. The win, with a try-scoring bonus point, moved the Sharks into the play-off Top 8.
Du Preez and his younger twin brothers Dan (No 8) and Jean-Luc (flank) were at the forefront of everything good about the Sharks and it was a night the Du Preez boys and their Sharks coach father (Robert snr) will not want to end.
(Robert) Du Preez is kicking at 90 percent in the competition this season, and in Durban he was again in the zone. This was a commanding performance at No 10. The Sharks forwards were also very good and played with intensity and never relented against the Kiwis.
The Sharks scored within a minute of the first half and were also quick to score just after half time. They started brilliantly and were always in front.
Andre Esterhuizen was named man of the match but it was an award that could have gone to any one of 10 players in the Sharks effort.
Curwin Bosch and Sbu Nkosi were busy on attack and among the tight five hooker Akker van der Merwe played with influence and effectiveness. Tendai Mtawarira was also good on his return from injury.
Tries: Akker van der Merwe, Makazole Mapimpi, Daniel du Preez, Sbu Nkosi, Robert du Preez
Conversions: Du Preez (5)
Penalty: Du Preez
Tries: Dillon Hunt, Teihorangi Walden
Conversion: Lima Sopoaga
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Patelesio Tomkinson, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Aki Seiuli
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Matt Faddes
- It’s all over! The referee has blown his whistle to end the game.
- 79‘Andre Esterhuizen has made 10 good tackles so far this game.
- 77‘This is dangerous for the defence as Jean-Luc du Preez bursts through to advance the Sharks attack.
- 76‘A gap opened in the defence and Makazole Mapimpi took full advantage.
- 75‘The defensive line has been broken as Waisake Naholo goes through the gap.
- 74‘Josh Ioane has hooked the conversion to the left of the posts.
- 73‘Ben Smith sets up the try.
- 73‘Incisive passing by Highlanders is finished off by Teihorangi Walden, as he goes over for the try.
- 73‘What a run here by Ben Smith as they gets over the gainline!.
- 73‘Matt Faddes makes the break as the defence re-enacts the parting of the red sea.
- 71‘Tyler Paul comes on for Sharks.
- 71‘Phillip Van Der Walt departs for Sharks.
- 70‘Highlanders have won 40 rucks so far this game.
- 69‘Phillip Van Der Walt has made 10 good tackles so far this game.
- 68‘Lwazi Mvovo comes on.
- 68‘Robert du Preez leaves the field.
- 68‘Josh Ioane comes on.
- 68‘Lima Sopoaga comes off.
- 68‘Aaron Smith comes off.
- 68‘Dillon Hunt has made 10 good tackles so far this game.
- 67‘The touch judges raise their flags as Robert du Preez kicks the conversion.
- 67‘Curwin Bosch sets up the try.
- 67‘Silky skills by Sharks ends with a try for Robert du Preez.
- 66‘Fabulous play by Sharks has led to Curwin Bosch being able to wriggle through a gap.
- 64‘Sharks have won 60 rucks so far this game.
- 64‘Ross Geldenhuys comes on.
- 64‘Thomas du Toit comes off.
- 63‘Sharks decide to make a substitution, with Marius Louw getting some game time.
- 63‘Sharks decide to make a substitution, with Lukhanyo Am being replaced.
- 63‘Trouble here as Jean-Luc du Preez breaches the defence.
- 63‘Highlanders make a substitution with Kalolo Tuiloma coming on.
- 63‘Highlanders make a substitution with Tyrel Lomax coming off.
- 62‘Robert du Preez adds the two points for Sharks.
- 61‘Spellbinding play by Robert du Preez is finished off with a try.
- 61‘The kick through from Sharks has allowed Sibusiso Nkosi to touch down.
- 59‘Sharks sub Jacques Vermeulen comes onto the field.
- 59‘Daniel du Preez departs for Sharks.
- 59‘Juan Schoeman comes on for Sharks.
- 59‘Tendai Mtawarira leaves the field.
- 59‘Franco Marais comes on.
- 59‘Armand van der Merwe comes off.
- 59‘Louis Schreuder comes on.
- 59‘Cameron Wright comes off.
- 56‘Matt Faddes comes on.
- 56‘Rob Thompson comes off.
- 53‘This is dangerous for the defence as Andre Esterhuizen bursts through to advance the Sharks attack.
- 53‘Highlanders decide to make a substitution, with Elliot Dixon getting some game time.
- 53‘Highlanders decide to make a substitution, with Shannon Frizell being replaced.
- 49‘Sharks make a substitution with Stephan Lewies coming on.
- 49‘Sharks make a substitution with Tyler Paul coming off.
- 48‘Highlanders sub Jackson Hemopo comes onto the field.
- 48‘Alex Ainley departs for Highlanders.
- 48‘Dan Lienert-Brown comes on for Highlanders.
- 48‘Aki Seiuli leaves the field.
- 48‘Ash Dixon comes on.
- 48‘Liam Coltman comes off.
- 46‘A gap opened in the defence and Andre Esterhuizen took full advantage.
- 45‘Robert du Preez does the business as his conversion attempt goes over.
- 44‘Lukhanyo Am played a key part in that try.
- 44‘A wonderful passing move by Sharks is finished off by Daniel du Preez.
- 44‘The defensive line has been broken as Lukhanyo Am goes through the gap.
- 43‘What a run here by Waisake Naholo as they gets over the gainline!.
- 42‘Thomas du Toit makes the break as the defence re-enacts the parting of the red sea.
- 42‘Sharks have won 40 rucks so far this game.
- 42‘Teihorangi Walden has made 10 good tackles so far this game.
- 40‘Fabulous play by Sharks has led to Andre Esterhuizen being able to wriggle through a gap.
- 40‘Try saving tackle made by Waisake Naholo.
- 40‘The second half is underway.
- 40+1‘The half-time whistle blows and both teams’ head for the dressing rooms.
- 36‘Trouble here as Curwin Bosch breaches the defence.
- 33‘Sharks have won 20 rucks so far this game.
- 32‘Robert du Preez has kicked a penalty goal.
- 28‘Lima Sopoaga makes no mistake with that conversion attempt.
- 26‘The Highlanders pack has powered over for Dillon Hunt to score the try.
- 25‘Highlanders have won 20 rucks so far this game.
- 8‘Robert du Preez converts the try.
- 7‘That’s a great try assist by Robert du Preez.
- 6‘A series of passes by Sharks results in a try for Makazole Mapimpi.
- 6‘This is dangerous for the defence as Makazole Mapimpi bursts through to advance the Sharks attack.
- 4‘A gap opened in the defence and Andre Esterhuizen took full advantage.
- 4‘What a tackle there by Waisake Naholo as he saves a certain try!.
- 1‘Robert du Preez has kicked a conversion.
- Ruan Botha sets up the try.
- Great hands by Sharks leads to a try for Armand van der Merwe.
- The defensive line has been broken as Ruan Botha goes through the gap.
- We are underway as the referee blows his whistle.