The Sharks are 2-0 to start their season with a big 22 point win over the Highlanders in Dunedin. The Sharks 1st half burst got them into the lead and the Highlanders could not recover from there. The home side came back into it but the Sharks held their nerve and that last-minute try was the icing on the cake of a big win.
The first twenty minutes of the match was full of errors resulting in eight penalties in this period. The Highlanders were the first on the board after absorbing the pressure in the first five minutes, converting an easy penalty to take a 3-0 lead. A converted penalty saw the teams sharing the lead at 3 all but one could not help to expect the Hurricanes to take control.
Although the Highlanders continued their "dominance" statistically it was the turnovers the Sharks' defence caused that was the big difference between the two teams. These turnovers lead to 3 tries for the Sharks in the last 10 minutes of the half to take a big 27-3 lead at half time.
After the try by the Hurricanes in the opening minutes of the second half the momentum of the game is clearly with the Highlanders. Desperate defence by the Sharks kept the Highlanders from scoring. However, the Highlanders scored their second try of the match after 20 minutes in the second half to narrow the Sharks lead to 30-15.
A try by Aphelele Fassi sealed the win for the Sharks at a stage when the Highlanders threatened to completely take over the game. The Sharks deservedly winning the match 42-20 with great defence and brilliant counter-attacking.
Highlanders: Try: Dillon Hunt, Jona Nareki, Michael Collins. Conversion: Mitch Hunt. Penalty: Mitch Hunt
Cell C Sharks: Try: James Venter, Makazole Mapimpi (2), Aphelele Fassi (2). Conversion: Curwin Bosch (4). Penalty: Curwin Bosch (3).