Sharks survive Zebre scare

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MATCH REPORT: The Sharks managed to hold on for a nailbiting 42-37 United Rugby Championship win over Zebre in Parma on Friday.

While the Sharks got a full five points from their opening match of the season, it was only a silly penalty conceded by Juan Pitinari that saved them from an embarrassing loss.

It was a game of two halves - with the Sharks in control; for the first 40 minutes and Zebre coming back in sensational style after the break.

* To recap the drama, CLICK HERE!

From trailing 3-28 at half-time, the home team clawed their way back into the game - narrowing the gap to 22-31 with a three-try blitz in the first 10 minutes after the break.

A James Venter try temporarily stemmed the tide, before tries by Gabriele Venditti and Jacopo Trulla brought the Italian team back to within one score.

From the restart, Juan Pitinari committed an obstruction - rubbing out a try by Franco Smith, which may well have been a match-winner.

Boeta Chamberlain's penalty suddenly stretched the lead back to eight points.

Tiff Eden kicked a penalty straight after the restart to keep his team alive, but the Sharks held on for a fortuitous win.

More to follow ...

The scorers

For ZebreTries: Bigi, Gesi, Fox-Matamua, Venditti, Cons: Eden 3 Pens: Eden 2

For the SharksTries: Hugo, Van Vurren, Kok, Janse van Rensburg, Venter Cons: Chamberlain 4 Pens: Chamberlain 2

Yellow cards: Chris Cook (Zebre, 10 - foul play, stamping on an opponent), Simone Gesi (Zebre, 15 - cynical foul, slapping the ball down)

Teams

Zebre: 15 Richard Kriel, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Erich Cronjé, 12 Enrico Lucchin, 11 Simone Gesi, 10 Tiff Eden, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Taina Fox-Matamua, 7 MJ Pelser, 6 Luca Andreani, 5 Leonard Krumov, 4 David Sisi (captain), 3 Ion Neculai, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Paolo Buonfiglio. Replacements: 16 Giampietro Ribaldi, 17 Juan Pitinari, 18 Muhamed Hasa, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 Gabriele Venditti, 21 Alessandro Fusco, 22 Franco Smith Jr, 23 Jacopo Trulla.

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Henry Chamberlain, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phendulani Buthelezi, 7 Dylan Richardson, 6 James Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 Thomas du Toit (captain), 2 Kerron van Vurren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu. Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Marnus Potgieter.

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales) Assistant referees: Federico Vedovelli (Italy), Dante D’elia (Italy) TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)

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