Sensational Sharks pummel Pau in Challenge Cup opener
Bok stars Etzebeth and Am both scored tries in the win in Durban.
Makazole Mapimpi of the Sharks is embraced by Eben Etzebeth after their win against Pau. Picture: Steve Haag Sports/Gallo Images
Lukhanyo Am and Eben Etzebeth scored two tries apiece as the Sharks launched their maiden Challenge Cup foray with a bonus-point mauling of Pau in Durban on Saturday.
Leading 24-5 at half time, the Sharks scored three tries either side of the break while flyhalf Curwin Bosch kicked 15 points in a convincing 45-5 win at Kings Park.
Outside centre Am opened the scoring in the eighth minute, and Bosch made no mistake with the first of his three conversions of the first half, but left winger Gregoire Arfeuil crossed the whitewash for the visitors before the close of the opening quarter.
Yet, it wasn’t too long until Am doubled his tally, with fellow World Cup-winning Springbok Etzebeth barging over at the close of the first 40 minutes after Bosch split the uprights from the kicking tee with a well-struck penalty.
Right winger Marnus Potgieter added his name to the scoresheet soon after the restart, before Pau loose forward Mehdi Tlili earned 10 minutes on the naughty chair for a yellow card.
Etzebeth completed his brace and speedster Makazole Mapimpi notched up the Sharks’ third of the second stanza with 31 minutes left to play, and the home side did enough to hold on for victory.
John Plumtree’s charges hit the road next week for their first away match of the competition, with a local derby against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
The Cheetahs beat Zebre away in Parma in their first match on Saturday.
This story first appeared on sarugbymag.co.za. It is republished here with permission.