Sharks down Chiefs in Durban

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Saturday, May 19, 2018    Getty Images

The Sharks bolted out of the gate with a running brand of rugby that caught the Chiefs off guard at the start of both halves.

The Chiefs stayed with their more fancied opponents for most of the second half, before Cameron Wright’s try in the final quarter of the match gave the Sharks a 28-17 advantage.

It was too much for the Chiefs to overcome, but a try in the final play to Solomon Alaimalo gave the visitors a losing bonus point to consolidate their spot in seventh on the overall standings. They are equal on points with the Highlanders, but trail the southerners on goal difference.

Having lost a number of key personnel to the All Blacks camp, the Chiefs went into the match at Kings Park Stadium with the underdog tag.

The Sharks were eyeing their third consecutive victory at home to consolidate second spot in the South African conference.

The Sharks raced out to a 10-0 lead thanks to two penalties and a try to first five-eighths Robert du Preez, who brought up 150 points for the season in the process.

The under-strength Chiefs held firm, however, and equalised through Tyler Ardron to run off at halftime with a 10-10 scoreline.

It was the hosts who returned the stronger of the two sides after the break, and left wing Lwazi Mvovo scored within two minutes of the second half.

As they had done before, the Chiefs held firm and took the lead when Charlie Ngatai picked off Andre Esterhuizen's telegraphed pass.

It didn't faze the Sharks, however. Du Preez' third penalty of the afternoon gave the Sharks a one point lead with 25 minutes to play and it would be an advantage they would not squander.

A pivotal moment in the match came in the 47th minute, when the Chiefs' scrum was pressured into a mistake on their own line.

The Sharks elected to take an attacking scrum and it immediately paid dividends when replacement halfback Cameron Wright sliced through to score under the posts.

Du Preez' kick, and another penalty eight minutes later, gave the Sharks a 28-17 lead with 10 minutes to play.

Alaimalo's try after the fulltime siren gave the visitors a silver linng from their fifth loss of the season.

Sharks 28 (Robert du Preez, Lwazi Mvovo, Cameron Wright tries; du Preez 2 con, 3 pen) Chiefs 24 (Tyler Ardron, Charlie Ngatai, Solomon Alaimalo tries; Marty McKenzie 3 con, pen). HT: 10-10