Sharks fire in second half to thump Munster, advance to Champions Cup QF in Durban try-fest

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Sikhumbuzo Notshe of the Sharks (Gallo)
Sikhumbuzo Notshe of the Sharks (Gallo)
  • The Sharks gave a vibrant Durban crowd reason to celebrate with a thumping 50-35 victory over Munster on Saturday. 
  • The win sees the Sharks advance to the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup. 
  • The Durbanites will now face either the Bulls or Toulouse in the last eight. 

A superb second-half showing from the Sharks saw them thump Munster 50-35 in front of a vibrant Durban crowd on Saturday to book their place in the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup. 

FT | Sharks 50-35 Munster

The match was evenly poised, with the hosts leading 17-14 at half-time, but four Sharks tries inside the first 18 minutes of the second half effectively put the contest to bed. 

The Sharks will now face either Toulouse (away) or the Bulls (home) in next weekend's quarter-finals, with those two sides meeting on Sunday. 

This was a breathtaking affair, with a total of 12 tries - seven for the Sharks, five for Munster - scored on the day. 

There were around 30 000 at Kings Park on an afternoon of brilliant sunshine, and the Sharks looked a different side to the one that limped to United Rugby Championship defeat to Scarlets a week earlier. 

While it was a team effort, the Sharks' Springbok stars were particularly impressive, showing what this side is capable of when they have their best players firing. 

It started out as a battle of epic proportions, with the momentum see-sawing between the sides. 

The Sharks started brightly and were full of intensity, and they went ahead through an early Curwin Bosch penalty. They did not lead for long, though, and Munster hit back, out of nowhere and almost immediately, through left wing Shane Daly. It looked a bit too easy for the Munster attack, with the Sharks defence seemingly absent.  

A moment of brilliance from Makazole Mapimpi then broke the Munster defence wide open with a sumptuous step, setting up scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse to go over for the Sharks' first try.

Hendrikse was injured in the process, leaving the field holding his shoulder, as the Sharks had a 10-7 lead.  

Eben Etzebeth then muscled his way over from close range for a rare try, with a penalty advantage behind him, as the Sharks stretched it out to a 17-7 lead on 24 minutes.

At that stage, the hosts were looking well in control and poised to take the game away. 

Defensive lapses and lineout struggles, however, allowed Munster to venture into periods where they could place real pressure on the Sharks defence.  

Munster were throwing everything at the Sharks, taking advantage of sloppy defence that quickly turned desperate. Their second try came through prop Dave Kolcoyne on 24 minutes, from close range, and Munster had narrowed the deficit again with the scoreboard reading 17-14 to the Sharks.

That was how it remained until half-time, and there was nothing in it going into the second 40.  

The Sharks, though, came out firing after the break and had back-to-back maul tries through Bongi Mbonambi after just eight minutes. 

Werner Kok then showed his raw pace to burst down the right flank and score, before Bosch himself crossed the whitewash as Durban roared and Munster were floored. 

At that point, the Sharks led 43-14, and there was surely no way back for the tourists. 

Munster still looked dangerous whenever they could get through a few phases, and they did score next through Diarmuid Barron. 

Any hopes of an unlikely comeback were squashed, however, when Mapimpi got his name on the score sheet to bring up the Sharks' half-century. 


Sharks 50 (17)

Tries: Jaden Hendrikse, Eben Etzebeth, Bongi Mbonambi (2), Werner Kok, Curwin Bosch, Makazole Mapimpi

Conversions: Curwin Bosch (6)

Penalty: Bosch

Munster 35 (14)

Tries: Shane Daly, Dave Kolcoyne, Diarmuid Barron, Michel Haley, Fineen Wycherley

Conversions: Jack Crowley (5)

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