Cape Town - The Sharks' Super Rugby season plunged into further crisis following a horror performance against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.
Touted pre-season by many as South Africa's strongest chance at title success, the Sharks now boast a single win over minnows, the Sunwolves, a draw against the Waratahs and three defeats.
The Sharks were second-best in all aspects against a resurgent Rebels side, as they went down 46-14 to give their supporters little to cheer about in their second defeat in as many matches on their four-match tour Down Under.
The Rebels scored six tries through hooker Anaru Rangi, No 8 Amanaki Mafi, scrumhalf Will Genia, centre Billy Meakes and replacement forwards Ross Haylett-Petty and Fereti Sa’aga. Centre Reece Hodge added a conversion and penalty, while flyhalf Jack Debreczeni was on target with four conversions and a penalty of his own.
All the Sharks could muster in response were tries by wing Lwazi Mvovo and centre Marius Louw and a conversion apiece by flyhalf Robert du Preez and fullback Curwin Bosch.
Adding to the Sharks' woes ahead of their next fixture will be the almost certain citing of Mvovo who inexplicably escaped any form of card sanction for a shocking mid-air tackle on Genia, which, for the second weekend running highlighted the credentials of Japanese referee Shuhei Kubo.
In next weekend's Round 6 action, the Rebels host the Hurricanes in Melbourne (Friday, March 30 at 10:45 SA time), while the Sharks travel to Auckland to play the Blues (Saturday, March 31 at 08:35 SA time).
15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Sefa Naivalu,
13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack
Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus
Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman (captain), 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Jermaine Ainsley,
2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner
Substitutes: 16 Mahe Vailanu, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Richard Hardwick, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Tom English
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Kobus van Wyk, 23 Garth April