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Second half Sharks attack leaves Edinburgh beaten at home

By PA
(Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Edinburgh slipped out of the BKT United Rugby Championship playoff places after going down 22-19 to the Sharks – their first defeat of 2023. Grant Williams and Marnus Potgieter scored tries with both converted by Curwin Bosch converting both to put the Sharks 14-0 up after 19 minutes before Edinburgh rallied.

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Adam McBurney scored a pair of tries and Henry Immelman also crossed with Charlie Savala adding two conversions to send the hosts into the break 19-14 ahead. But the South Africans had the better of the second half and Kerron van Vuuren’s try and a penalty from Bosch secured victory.

The visitors took the lead after five minutes when scrum-half Williams picked off a high pass in midfield by Edinburgh stand-off Savala and sprinted in from 40 metres, leaving an easy conversion for Bosch. Edinburgh’s worries deepened after a quarter of an hour when Wes Goosen was shown a yellow card for illegally halting an attack close to his own line.

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The Sharks took advantage of the extra man within minutes, as a simple move down the line from a scrum ended in Potgieter scoring in the right corner. Bosch nailed the conversion from the touchline to put his team 14-0 up. With nearly half an hour played, Edinburgh patiently made their way downfield and after good work by Ben Vellacott and Savala, McBurney finished off after a one-two with Boan Venter. Savala converted.

Five minutes later, a brilliant 50/22 kick from Immelman turned defence into attack and gave the home side a lineout five metres from the Sharks line. McBurney grabbed his second from the maul, and Savala added the extras to level the scores.

They barely stayed that way for a minute. When a Sharks attack broke down, Goosen hacked ahead, Edinburgh seized hold of the ball and Immelman eventually finished off in the corner. Savala’s kick was wide of the mark, but it was still a remarkable turnaround from 14-0 down to 19-14 down at the break.

The Sharks closed the gap to two points with a Bosch penalty a couple of minutes after the restart. Then in the 60th minute, Bosch was just short with another penalty attempt from just inside his own 10-metre line.

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Two minutes later, however, the visitors did regain the lead, with a close-range try by van Vuuren after they had steadily exerted more and more pressure. The conversion was missed, but in the end, and despite some frenzied Edinburgh pressure deep into time added on, that score was enough to give the South Africans the win.

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