Garrin Lambley – Sport24 Editor
Cape Town – In a contender for the worst Vodacom Super Rugby match not only of the 2017 season, but of all time, the Sharks and Rebels drew a tryless clash in Durban in which both sides finished with 14 players.
When referee Marius van der Westhuizen blew the final whistle to put those few brave souls who turned up at Kings Park out of their misery, the scoreboard read 9-9.
Flyhalf Curwin Bosch landed three penalties for the home side while Rebels fullback Reece Hodge replied with three of his own for their Australian visitors.
The Sharks were reduced to 14 men as early as the 17th minute after a tip-tackle by centre Andre Esterhuizen.
Esterhuizen is certain to face a period on the sidelines once the SANZAAR Judicial Committee has convened.
The Rebels, who led 6-3 at half-time, were also reduced to 14 men after captain Nic Stirzaker was shown a second yellow card in the 69th minute, while replacement hooker James Hanson also spent 10 minutes in the sin bin.
Both sides picked up two points for the draw.
The Sharks remained second in Africa Conference 2, eight points behind the conference-leading Lions yet still, unbelievably, in a playoff position, while the Rebels stayed rooted to the bottom of the Australian Conference.
In next weekend’s Round 10 action, the Sharks travel to Buenos Aires to play the Jaguares (Saturday, April 29 at 21:40 SA time), while the Rebels and Kings will do battle in Port Elizabeth earlier in the day (19:30).
15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Tera Mtembu (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Jeremy Ward
15 Reece Hodge, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Will Miller, 6 Jake Schatz, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Siliva Siliva, 1 Fereti Sa’aga
Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Tom Moloney, 19 Esei Haangana, 20 Hugh Sinclair, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Ben Volavola