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Sharks show teeth in Italy in first meeting with Benetton

By PA
Sbu Nkosi /Getty

The Sharks claimed a bonus-point 29-7 victory over Benetton in the first meeting between the two sides.

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Ruben van Heerden, Aphelele Fassi, Phepsi Buthelezi and Sbu Nkosi scored tries as the Sharks replaced the Bulls as the top South African side in the United Rugby Championship.

Carl Wegner claimed a consolation try for Benetton, who remain without a win since beating Zebre on Christmas Eve.

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Early Sharks pressure was rewarded in the seventh minute as Van Heerden drove over and Curwin Bosch converted.

The two sides were involved in a real arm wrestle before Benetton wing Rhyno Smith broke clear.

However, the Sharks’ scramble defence did their job and the Italians were shut out.

Benetton prop Simone Ferrari was making his return after a year out but he had to leave the action after 21 minutes.

The visitors were looking increasingly dangerous with ball in hand and manufactured a superb score after 26 minutes.

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Flanker Siya Kolisi appeared in the wide channel at the end of a free-flowing move and found Fassi, who beat the final home defender to make the corner in style.

Bosch successfully converted off the upright before Benetton were reduced to 14 men for constant infringement.

Alessandro Izekor was sin-binned in the final play of the half and the Sharks chose to go for the corner rather than the posts.

The move paid off as Buthelezi benefited from a driving maul and Bosch converted for a 21-0 interval lead.

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The Sharks were within inches of a bonus-point try when prop Ox Nche got over the line but was unable to ground the ball.

Benetton breathed new life into the contest with concerted pressure that ended with Sharks skipper Lukhanyo Am yellow carded.

Wegner immediately crashed over and Tomas Albornoz added the extras.

But the Sharks finished strongly and Bosch landed a penalty before Nkosi secured the bonus point in the final minute by darting into the corner.

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B.J. Spratt 2 hours ago
Jono Gibbes' reaction to France U20s putting 55 points on New Zealand

N.Z. Under 20'‘s concede 7 tries to France Unfortunately New Zealand Rugby has lost over 25% + of players between 12-18 over the last 3-5 years, possibly more. Poor administration and a Shocking Public Perception about the NZRFU has finally caught up with these dinosaurs. 66% of N.Z. Population lives North of Hamilton and 52% of Auckland population are Asian, who would rather play football. Rugby is dying while other Sports are growing. The rules need to change around the collision/tackle but personally I think the absolute “Arrogance and Stupidity” that the NZRFU has demonstrated over the decades, “with their jobs for the boys attitude” has led to their demise. A Professional Players Union that can somehow “Disassociate itself from the “Old men with bad breath and dandruff” that is the NZRFU, will be a huge challenge. Personally I think it’s far too late to recover and rejuvenate interest in Rugby by young players. Rugby is booming in France and that’s the difference. A booming Professional domestic League. NZRFU are “Not fit for purpose” and have no idea about commercial reality My kids generation would rather their kids don’t play Rugby. Very aware of CTE and the NZRFU arrogance and stupidity, in denying its existence. Finally, the NZRFU have managed to cover up ”Numerous serious crimes over the decades, committed by players, coaches and administrators simply because the tentacles of their “Power and Influence” have reached all sectors of New Zealand Society, including the Judiciary, Politicians, Police and Big business. Denying CTE even exists is a “no brainer for them”

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