A virtuoso performance from the Du Preez brothers saw the Sharks pick up their first win on tour in 2018 with a 63-40 win over the Blues. The visitors, coming off losses to the Brumbies and the Rebels, had a good recent record against the Blues but had lost in their last visit to Auckland, and Tana Umaga’s men would’ve fancied their chances.
Instead, a stellar performance from blindside Jean-Luc du Preez and his elder brother, flyhalf Rob du Preez, guided the Sharks to a win in this 100 point clash. Jean-Luc was colossal in this game, swatting away Blues players like flies. It was his manhandling of Murphy Taramai that effectively set the platform for the Sharks’ opening try of the game and bar a ten minute stage in the second half where they appeared to lose their heads following a yellow to winger Sbu Nkosi, the Sharks were good value for their money.
Flyhalf Rob, son of the Sharks coach Rob Snr, netted 38 points from the boot- the third highest ever in Super Rugby history for an individual. He had a 100% record from the tee and would’ve done his Springbok chances no harm at all.
The Sharks weren’t flawless- their defence at times was as bad as the Blues’, if not worse. But they did the key parts better- Louis Schreuder dragging the mighty Akira Ioane into touch when the Sharks were 16-7 ahead was a key moment. The Sharks scrum also held up better, with instructions seemingly there to get the ball out as quickly as possible.
The Sharks’ handling was also better in this game. Unlike the games against the Brumbies and the Rebels, their offloads stuck and handling errors were minimal. This allowed them to score at will, especially in the second half, after the Blues had taken full advantage of Nkosi’s yellow to turn a 26-7 deficit into a 28-26 lead.
The Blues will also be ruing the three pointers they turned down in the first half. Rieko Ioane’s switch to centre also didn’t quite have the effect they would’ve wanted- he was kept quiet all evening.
Young Curwin Bosch also had a very good game for the Sharks- check the way he hit the line for their last try, and his tribute to “Vegas” afterwards.
Sharks Man of the Match for us: Jean-Luc du Preez