22 Mar 2015

13-man Sharks beat 14-man Chiefs in ugly clash

7:21 pm on 22 March 2015

Three red cards were shown in Sunday morning's spiteful Super Rugby clash in Durban as the Sharks clung on to beat the Chiefs 12-11 with 13 men in the rain and heat in Durban.

The Sharks had two men sent off in the first half, while the Chiefs had one man red carded, but in the end four penalties to the Springbok Patrick Lambie were the difference.

Aaron Cruden has eyes only for the ball

Aaron Cruden was involved in one sending-off when he was dumped on his head Photo: Photosport

The Chiefs hooker Hika Elliott was shown a red card after 15 minutes, for a shoulder to the head of a Sharks player, then the Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis was sent off a couple of minutes later, for kicking a Chiefs player in the head.

Then the Sharks' second five Francois Steyn was also red carded for a dangerous tackle on the Chiefs playmaker Aaron Cruden on the 28th minute mark.

All three have a date with the judiciary along with the Chiefs captain Liam Messam, who was cited after the game for a dangerous tackle.

His team mate Tom Marshall received a citing commissioner warning also for a dangerous hit.

A Sam Cane try got the Chiefs in front at the break 11-9, but Lambie's fourth penalty proved the match-winner, despite desperate efforts from the visiting New Zealanders near the Sharks' line at the end.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says they'll learn from it, but with the one-man advantage they should have won, and it's a worrying trend.

"You gotta learn from it, because you know, we lost to the Highlanders a couple of weeks ago in a game we should've won well as well," Rennie says.

"We'll certainly look at it, and we'll review it. The only way you get learning from it is really having a critical review... the game was there for the taking, we should've won easily."

All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams failed to make the Chiefs lineup after suffering a head knock in last weekend's win over the Stormers in Cape Town.

While Williams passed a concussion test at the time, he was suffering from headaches earlier this week.

The Chiefs say Williams was clear from symptoms after his head-knock, but ran out of time to fulfill the protocol system.

Earlier, the Bulls pipped the visiting Western Force 25-24 in Pretoria.