A second straight bonus-point win put them top of the overall table and only fellow South Africans the Northern Bulls, who play later Saturday, can overtake them in round 2.
Curwin Bosch will start at flyhalf for the Sharks against the Griquas in Kimberley. Picture: @TheSharksZA/Twitter
JOHANNESBURG – Curwin Bosch scored a late try to seal a 26-7 victory for the Coastal Sharks over the Auckland Blues in Durban Saturday as they maintained a perfect start to the season.A second straight bonus-point win put them top of the overall table and only fellow South Africans the Northern Bulls, who play later Saturday, can overtake them in round 2.Springbok utility back Bosch intercepted a Blues pass and darted from his own half to touch down between the posts and fly-half Robert du Preez kicked his third conversion of the match.Full-back Aphelele Fassi, hooker Armand van der Merwe and Du Preez scored first-half tries as the dominant Sharks established a 19-0 half-time advantage at Kings Park stadium.The Blues were a much-improved side in the second half only to be denied a try on 55 minutes when the television match official spotted obstruction by flanker Dalton Papalii.However, the New Zealanders were deservedly rewarded soon after when a long skip pass from fly-half Otere Black sent replacement back Tanielu Tele’a over in the corner.Black converted from the touchline to leave 12 points between the teams and Sharks supporters must have feared that the home team could be overtaken.Those concerns were heightened 12 minutes from time when Sharks lock Ruan Botha was yellow-card for a cynical maul infringement.However, the Sharks held firm with 14 men until out-of-favour Springbok Bosch put the outcome beyond doubt.A need for consistency was the pre-season battle cry of Sharks coach Robert du Preez, a former Springbok scrum-half and the father of the fly-half.”There is a great respect for New Zealand teams and the Blues brought the best out of us, especially during the first half,” he said.”It is vital that we maintain this good start. Too often in previous seasons we have been up one weekend and down the next.”The Blues, the weakest of the five New Zealand title contenders for several seasons, have just one point from two matches.