Sunwolves 17-28 Sharks: Lwazi Mvovo scores hat-trick in Singapore
Last Updated: 20/05/17 7:26pm
Lwazi Mvovo helped himself to a hat-trick as the Sharks cemented their place in Super Rugby's top eight with a 38-17 victory over the Sunwolves in Singapore.
The South Africans rebounded from last week's shock loss to the Kings to register their eighth win of the season and secure a vital bonus point to surge seven points clear of the Blues, their closest challenger for the last wildcard into the playoffs, but it was not as easy as the final scoreline suggested.
Despite being decimated by injuries and playing in the stifling humidity of south east Asia for the first time, the Sharks took control of the match from the outset, dominating the home side through their rolling mauls and pick-and-drive plays, and were rewarded with six tries.
Full-back Mvovo scored his first touchdown after just three minutes and added two more in the last four minutes while elusive winger S'busiso Nkosi crossed twice and towering lock Ruan Botha once.
In keeping with what has become their trademark, the Sunwolves threw caution to the wind with some unorthodox and improvised plays in the hope of getting their second win of the season, but their inexperience in Super Rugby was once again exposed.
While they showed some flashes of individual brilliance that caught the Sharks napping at times, the second-year franchise undid a lot of their good work by coughing up too much possession and failing to execute at critical times.
Trailing 21-7 at half-time after replacement hooker Takeshi Hino crashed over from close-range, the Sunwolves got to within four points late in the second half when flanker Shuhei Matsuhashi crossed.
The Sharks were starting to show signs of weariness but when the Sunwolves dropped the ball inside their own 22 after a risky cross-kick, the visitors took their chance and ran in three late tries to blow out the final scoreline and leave the Sunwolves rooted to the bottom of the standings.