Cardiff ease past 14-man Sharks in United Rugby Championship encounter

Cardiff ease past 14-man Sharks in United Rugby Championship encounter

A red card cost the Sharks dearly in their United Rugby Championship clash with Cardiff on Saturday as they lost 36-14 in Durban.

Sharks flanker Tino Mavesere was sent off after just 20 minutes following a shoulder-led challenge to the head of Cardiff and Wales full-back Cameron Winnett.

The visitors prospered, securing a bonus-point by half-time through tries from Alun Lawrence, Ben Donnell, Willis Halaholo and James Botham, while fly-half Ben Thomas kicked three conversions.

Lock Corne Rahl was the only survivor in Sharks' starting line-up following a home defeat against Benetton last time out.

None of the Sharks' current Springboks contingent were involved prior to the EPCR Challenge Cup final against Gloucester in London.

Cardiff encountered few problems in claiming a rare five-point maximum on the road, with Thomas adding a second-half penalty before Wales back Mason Grady posted a late try that Thomas converted.

Centre Diego Appollis and replacement Curwin Bosch touched down for the home side, with Bosch and Lionel Cronje each kicking a conversion, but Sharks could have no complaints after being outplayed in all key departments.

Number eight Lawrence collected Cardiff's opening try after 15 minutes, underlining that the Sharks had a tough task on their hands.

But that degree of difficulty increased sharply after Mavesere was red-carded and Cardiff capitalised immediately.

More good work by their forwards had Sharks' defence in reverse gear and Donnell was the beneficiary, with Thomas' conversion opening up a 14-point lead.

Cardiff were then undone by a try from Appollis that Cronje converted, yet they recovered quickly as Halaholo showcased all his power to surge over Sharks' line before Thomas added another two points.

A bonus point arrived six minutes before the interval through Botham's score, sending Cardiff in to half-time with a 26-7 advantage.

A Thomas penalty left the Sharks further adrift and Grady crossed for a try eight minutes from time that Thomas converted before Bosch's 78th-minute consolation.

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