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Sharks showed Springboks the way - Mallett

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Monday, April 9, 2018    Getty Images

It took an injury time try to second five-eighths Ngani Laumape and a clutch conversion by first five-eighths Ihaia West to get a 38-37 win for the home team.

Mallett, now a television commentator with Supersport in South Africa, said, "It was an extraordinary performance by the Sharks, the best by a South African side overseas this year by miles.

"It was almost a template of how you'd like the Springboks to play.

"They started poorly, letting in the Hurricanes' first two tries, but then they just grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. It was a big defensive effort by the whole team," he said.

The linespeed of the Sharks had been impressive once they got into the game. They were in the Hurricanes' faces forcing several turnovers by physically dominating, just as they had a week earlier against the Blues.

"But in those last five minutes, they started to stay on the line and wait for the Hurricanes to run at them, to prevent conceding a penalty.

"That allowed the Hurricanes to hold onto the ball for five minutes and they got three penalties.

"The ref was very harsh with the first penalty against the Sharks," Mallett said.

"When you are close to your line, you can expect the referee is going to be hard on you. But the one from 50m out was a tough decision on the Sharks."

It had been a 'desperately sad way' for the Sharks to lose the game.

"The only time the Hurricanes led, apart from those first 10 minutes, was in the 85th minute when they scored to win the game. It was really hearbreaking.

"But in the last two games on this tour, the Sharks played fantastically. It showed they can front up against any New Zealand side," he said.

Flanker Jean-Luc du Preez had been magnificent, but so had the entire forward pack while in the backs Andre Esterhuizen continued to impress while breaking the line, offloading and with his physical presence. Curwin Bosch at fullback was also showing his ability when running the ball, Mallett said.