A composed, varied performance from the Sharks saw them beat the Jaguares 33-25 in Buenos Aires on Saturday night.
Given that the home side had been unbeaten at home to date this season, this showing was hugely impressive.
The Sharks did so by taking their chances and, crucially, knocking the hosts out of their attacking rhythm.
Who was the star in this match?
The Jaguares were kept in the game by the work rate and skills of fullback Joaquin Tuculet yet Sharks coach Robert du Preez’s decision to make flanker Philip van der Walt paid off handsome dividends. He scored his side’s first try, tackled superbly and provided calm leadership.
Key events and themes
- The Sharks have been one of the better defensive units in this year’s campaign and it showed in this game. The Jaguares’ relentless attacking play will mean most sides miss a few tackles, just like the Durbanites did. But the Sharks’ sheer physicality and intensity on defence proved vital in frustrating the hosts.
- Despite not always enjoying much possession, the Sharks’ ability to capitalise on limited scoring opportunities was impressive. When they found themselves in a scoring position, they invariably did so. It was a trend set by Van der Walt, who scored after an impressive 13 phases were strung together.
- Another highlight was the try for loosehead prop Thomas du Toit, a barnstorming run after his fellow prop Coenie Oosthuizen hit a gap and gave a fine off-load. It was a fine move. Fullback Rhyno Smith’s weaving run for the Sharks’ second try was a huge psychological boost, helping them draw level just before half-time.
- The Jaguares had their moments on attack, especially when fullback Tuculet finished off a fabulous set move from a scrum. But they were guilty of overdoing things at times and – despite a more disciplined performance – made silly errors. A truck and trailer situation from an attacking line-out five minutes from time summed up their day. It was a basic error from an attacking position.
Sharks – Tries: Philip van der Walt, Etienne Oosthuizen, Thomas du Toit. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3). Penalties: Bosch (4).
Jaguares – Tries: Joaquin Tuculet, Matias Orlando, Bautista Ezcurra. Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez (2). Penalties: Sanchez (2).