Sharks 28-23 Leinster Sharks: Sharks move up to fourth in league leaderboards

Sharks v Leinster
The Sharks are now fourth in the United Rugby Championship table after their bonus-point win
Sharks (14) 28
Tries: Mapimpi, Hendrikse, Mbonambi, Buthelezi Cons: Bosch 4
Leinster (17) 23
Tries: Penny, T O'Brien Cons: Frawley 2 Pens: Frawley 3

With a win over Leinster, the Sharks made a significant step towards a United Rugby Championship Play-off spot.

The league leaders dominated the opening hour of Durban without their senior players.

Phepsi Andhelezi's 66th-minute attempt put the Sharks ahead, before they held their own line in final minutes.

Leinster has not secured the top seed for play-offs as they have a nine-point advantage in first, with only two games remaining.

The Sharks started the match in eighth place. If they maintain their position, they will move up to fourth.

Connacht cannot now qualify for the play-offs. Scarlets are the only team still eligible to break into the top 8.

Leinster's first-choice Hooker Ronan Kelleher was injured in the shoulder and Leinster had to cancel his game. This meant John McKee, an academy player, would make his senior debut.

Lock Brian Deeny made his debut for the province as well. He had absorbed early Sharks pressure and was the first to strike first before Scott Penny clinically ended their first foray into 22.

The lead lasted just three minutes before Makazole Mapimpi took Rory O'Loughlin's pass and allowed him to walk in untouched.

Tommy O'Brien scores a try against the Sharks
Tommy O'Brien was the man to beat in Durban, scoring the best try with a fantastic first-half effort

Leinster were on the defensive for most of the game, but they were much more clinical than their rivals and won again thanks to a stunning score by Tommy O'Brien. Tommy O'Brien gathered Ciaran Frawley's crossingfield kick, before scoring brilliantly.

They were again held back by Aphelele Fasi, who exploited a broken field and surged through the defense to feed Jaden Hendrikse.

While Frawley was able to place kick perfectly, they were still in the game. However, Leinster began wilting under relentless Sharks pressure.

Bongi Mbonambi was seen coming down from a driving mat before Josh Murphy and Lee Barron were sin-binned quickly as they tried to slow down the Sharks.

Buthelezi had already crashed, but the momentum was now with the hosts. They looked ready to continue and win.

Leinster rallied, and marched within a metre to the Sharks line as the clock ticked into red. He won a penalty that saw Kerron Vuuren yellowcarded. However, the hosts' exceptional defence stood firm.

Sharks: Fassi; Kok, Tapuai, Louw, Mapimpi; Bosch, Hendrikse; Nche, Mbonambi, Du Toit (capt), Roetsy, Grobler; Kolisi, Venter, Buthelezi.

Replacements: Van Vuuren, N McHunu, K McHunu, Hugo, Labuschagne, Notshe, Williams, Chamberlain.

Leinster: Cosgrave, T O'Brien Osborne Frawley O'Loughlin H Byrne McCarthy Porter McKee Clarkson Deeny Dunne Ruddock (capt), Penny Deegan

Replacements: Barron, Dooley, Ala'alatoa, Murphy, Soroka, Foley, Hawkshaw, Molony.

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