After losing to the Melbourne Rebels for the first time in their history earlier this year, the Sharks also suffered their first ever defeat to the Jaguares as they went down 29-13 in Argentina. The crowd of 19,214, the biggest the Jaguares have had in attendance for a while, saw the home side extend their run to six straight wins thanks to a hat trick from Moyano.
The Sharks were in it for a while, but as usual were let down by their handling errors. The backline didn’t get going and their cause wasn’t helped by an early missed penalty from Robert du Preez and a crucial knock on from Lwazi Mvovo with the tryline at his mercy. The Mvovo miss came at a crucial point when the game was at 17-13, and another Sharks knock on from a promising position just minutes later saw the Jaguares score on the counter.
The Jaguares owed much of their lead to silly defensive errors from the Sharks, like with Nkosi for the Jags’ second try, but they’ve been an improved outfit under Mario Ledesma and will be a serious contender for the playoffs after this season.
As for the Sharks, inconsistency continues to plague them. They also had skipper Ruan Botha red carded late in the game, and did not even manage a bonus point from the game. Their playoff hopes hang by a thread (they’re out of the top eight after this defeat), but fortunately for them, John Mitchell’s Bulls also lost to the Brumbies.
The Sharks produced one of their finest performances of the 2018 Super Rugby season as they swatted aside the Highlanders 38-12 in Durban. The visitors, who had upset the Bulls in Pretoria the week before, would’ve fancied their chances against Rob du Preez’s men, but the home side dominated from the word go and were a totally different side from the one that had got mauled by the Bulls before the bye week.
Flyhalf Lima Sopoaga had a poor outing for the Highlanders. He was first beaten to an early box kick by Ruan Botha, which allowed Akker van der Merwe to score in the first minute of the game. For the Sharks next try, he was unable to stop Makazole Mapimpi in a one on one, and when the score was 14-7, he made an error in claiming a high ball that resulted in a scrum to the Sharks, and a subsequent penalty that flyhalf Rob du Preez scored.
Du Preez set up some scintillating tries, with his brothers Jean-Luc and Daniel in equally good knick. The loose forwards’ hands did let them down a bit in the first half, but the offloads stuck in the second, and the Sharks were even able to get a bonus point at the end, something that could help them in what’s becoming a crowded looking SA Conference table.
How important is Tendai Beast Mtawarira to the Sharks?
They tend to look a bit lost without him, and his reassuring presence at scrum time again helped them establish set piece dominance over the Highlanders, whose hopes of winning the NZ conference were dealt a huge blow with this loss.
Here are the attendance numbers for the Western Force for their new “World Series Rugby” tournament that began in Perth on 4 May, 2018.
The Force were culled from Super Rugby in 2018 as the Australian Conference was reduced to four teams. They will play Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Hong Kong and the Rebels and the Crusaders in a set of games. There will be a total of seven games played, all in Perth.
Here are the Australian 2018 Super Rugby attendance stats for comparison. At the time of writing, the Force’s average attendance for WSR is more than any Australian team’s average Super Rugby crowd.
Western Force vs Fiji 2018 Attendance 19,466 (Force 24-14 Fiji)
Western Force v Tonga 2018 Attendance 16,323 (Force 47-17 Tonga)
Force v Rebels 2018 Attendance 13,907 (Force 12-28 Rebels)
Force v Crusaders 2018 Attendance 14,259 (Force 8-44 Saders)
Force vs Samoa Apia 2018 Attendance 11,678 (Western Force 33-5 Apia)
Total Western Force Crowd WSR 2018:- 75,633
Average Western Force attendance WSR 2018:-15,127 (75,633/5)