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Ken Borland


Edinburgh rise like a phoenix with top-class finishing in the wet to beat a wasteful Sharks side

Posted on April 20, 2022 by Ken

A wasteful Sharks team suffered their first home defeat of the United Rugby Championship and it was a heavy one as Edinburgh beat them 21-5 at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday evening.

Kings Park was a quagmire and Edinburgh showed top-class skills in the wet to score three tries. The Sharks could only score once, but they had a host of other opportunities which they messed up inside the Edinburgh 22.

The Scottish team only had 35% of territory and 43% of possession, but, having fulfilled their defensive duties in sterling fashion, they would then rise like a phoenix and strike just about every time they were inside the Sharks’ 22.

Sharks wastefulness

The Sharks spent so much time inside the Edinburgh 22 that just scoring one try was nothing short of a disgrace. But more often than not, when they got into the red zone, they would make an unforced error.

Balls were dropped a couple of metres from the line, the rolling maul would be set and advancing but would then give away a penalty, Curwin Bosch failed to kick a couple of penalties to touch and missed all three of his shots at goal, one of them from in front of the poles.

Bosch did kick one excellent touchfinder which put Edinburgh under pressure five metres from their line. The visitors tried a lineout variation but the pressure was released when centre Marius Louw tackled flyhalf Blair Kinghorn in the air and was yellow-carded.

There was no coming back from such profligacy.

Outstanding Edinburgh halfbacks

In treacherous conditions and behind a retreating scrum, halfbacks Ben Vellacott and Kinghorn formed an outstanding partnership. Vellacott’s service was clean and slick, despite the pressure he was under, while Kinghorn would go over for two tries, he kicked out-of-hand well and showed an acute eye for the gap.

Kinghorn’s first try came in the 20th minute, while Louw was in the sin-bin, as he sliced through midfield after a lovely half-break by outside centre Mark Bennett.

The Scotland flyhalf’s second try sealed victory with 11 minutes to go as he was first to a loose ball on the ground and twice kicked through before dotting down.

Boffelli defused Sharks’ kicking game

Given the conditions, the Sharks were always going to kick long and often, but Edinburgh fullback Emiliano Boffelli was far from chasing shadows at the back. The Argentine star was superbly solid under the high ball and his positional play was excellent. The Sharks found it hard to find grass inside the Edinburgh 22.

Boffelli also evaded three tacklers to score a try in the 56th minute, following a storming run by eighthman Ben Muncaster, who also profited from missed tackles.

Scrum success only area of joy for Sharks

The starting front row of Thomas du Toit, Ox Nche and Bongi Mbonambi dominated the scrums but the Sharks were not able to build on that platform. The elation was shortlived as, more often than not, in an instant the advantage had been frittered away.

Scorers

SharksTry: Thomas du Toit.

EdinburghTries: Blair Kinghorn (2), Emiliano Boffelli. Conversions: Boffelli (3).

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