Du Preez to the fore as Sharks thrash Blues despite yellow

The Sharks exposed the deficiencies in the Blues defence, thrashing the home side 63-40
AFP

Wellington (AFP) – Coastal Sharks clicked into gear in a celebration for the du Preez family as they over-powered the Auckland Blues 63-40 in their Super Rugby clash on Saturday.

It was evident the Blues would be punished for their ill-discipline from the moment Robert du Preez landed his first penalty in the third minute at Eden Park in Auckland.

From the first bullocking run by his younger brother Jean-Luc de Preez, a key figure in several tries, the Sharks exposed the deficiencies in the Blues defence.

Which was all good news for their father Robert de Preez, the Sharks coach, who has been under pressure with only one win from their first five matches and losses to the ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels in the past two weeks.

Both sides scored six tries with the 23-point winning margin the result of seven penalties and an extra conversion landed by Robert du Preez.

“We came into this game with out backs against the wall and we really wanted to go out there and enjoy the game,” said skipper Ruan Botha.

“It hasn’t been an easy start to our campaign but we’re trying to get back on track.”

The Blues were left frustrated after taking the lead briefly in the second half, when the Sharks were a man down.

“Defence wins championships and you just can’t leak 63 points in this championship and expect to win games,” captain James Parsons said as the Blues slipped to four losses from five games.

Robert de Preez landed four penalties in the first half and also converted tries by his brother and Botha as the Sharks turned 26-7 ahead with fullback Michael Collins scoring for the Blues. 

The game swung sharply in the Blues’ favour for 10 minutes at the start of the second half when Sharks’ wing Sbu Nkosi was sin-binned for a head-high tackle. 

While the Blues held a one-man advantage, Akira Ioane, Patrick Tuipulotu and Stephen Perofeta all scored tries — Tuipulotu and Perofeta both from long-range. 

Perofeta converted them all for the Blues to be up 28-26, but when Nkosi returned to the field the Sharks moved up several gears to score 30 unanswered points.

The Blues rallied for two late tries before Curwin Bosch scored a final try for the Sharks more than three minutes into extra time.

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