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Sharks see off Benetton to boost United Rugby Championship play-off hopes

By PA
Harlequins v Cell C Sharks – Heineken Champions Cup – Pool A – Twickenham Stoop

The Sharks boosted their bid for a top-eight spot and a place in the United Rugby Championship play-offs with a thrilling 43-33 victory over Benetton in Durban.

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Benetton were ninth at kick-off – one place and one point below the Sharks – and scorched into a 14-0 lead with converted tries from Sebastian Negri and Ignacio Brex.

But the Sharks were level by half-time as Vincent Tshituka and Grant Williams crossed and Curwin Bosch added the extras.

Siya Kolisi quickly ended a stunning Sharks move to give them the lead for the first time before Rhyno Smith set up Joaquin Riera, although Tomas Albornoz failed to level the scores as his conversion attempt struck the upright.

The see-saw pattern of the contest continued as Williams collected Boeta Chamberlain’s kick for his second try and Edoardo Padovani replied for Benetton.

Two tries from Makazole Mapimpi took the game away from Benetton, but the Italians refused to give in and Albornoz scored an excellent individual try to set up a interesting finale.

But Bosch’s last-minute penalty, which took his tally to 13 points, saw the Sharks home and within touching distance of a play-off spot.

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