URC shock: Cardiff rout the Sharks in Durban
Thomas Young starred for Cardiff as they thrived in the Durban rain to claim a famous 35-0 victory over the Sharks.
No Welsh region had previously won in South Africa since the inception of the United Rugby Championship last season, but the Blue and Blacks – without a victory outside of Wales since March 2021 – adapted better to a torrential downpour in the first half to take control of the match.
Dai Young’s men punished their hosts’ numerous errors and chalked up a penalty try and a Young touchdown as they opened up a 23-0 half-time lead, with Jarrod Evans kicking 11 first-half points.
Young went over again after the break before Ben Thomas wrapped up the bonus point, with Evans adding two more points with the boot.
Both sides were without their Wales and South Africa stars due to Saturday’s out-of-window internationals, but Cardiff’s achievement was nevertheless a hugely impressive one.
Evans got the visitors off the mark from the tee after two minutes, but the they suffered a setback when Josh Turnbull was yellow-carded following a clash of heads with Anthony Volmink.
Conditions worsened as the half progressed and were reminiscent of those witnessed at Hollywoodbet Kings Park in the Sharks’ defeat to Edinburgh last season – their only previous home loss to European opposition.
Evans doubled Cardiff’s advantage as the match entered the second quarter and the capital region were awarded a penalty try after Marnus Potgieter was deemed to have deliberately knocked the ball dead to prevent Young from touching down. The Sharks wing was also sin-binned for his troubles.
Another Evans penalty made it 16-0 and a Volmink spillage opened the door for Young to race over after Cardiff picked up the pieces, with Evans’ conversion sending the tourists in at the break with a margin they could only have dreamed of ahead of kick-off.
The rain had relented somewhat by the second half, but Cardiff had not.
A driving maul guided Young over for his second try 10 minutes after the restart, although Evans was unable to add the extras on this occasion.
Cardiff had the bonus point in the bag eight minutes later when they got the ball out to Thomas on the left to go over in the corner, and Evans rediscovered his range to convert.
The Sharks looked to have finally opened their account after 65 minutes, only for Francois Venter’s try to be disallowed for a knock-on in the maul.
Evans missed a penalty before time was up, but there was no taking the gloss off the victory as Cardiff kept their hosts pointless.
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