Debutant Nohamba seals Super Rugby victory for Sharks

Durban (South Africa) (AFP) –


Debutant Sanele Nohamba scored a try to seal a 23-15 Super Rugby round one victory for the Coastal Sharks at home over fellow South Africans the Northern Bulls in Durban on Friday.

The 21-year-old scrum-half, who starred for his club in the domestic Currie Cup last year, struck in the 79th minute with a scrappy match on a knife-edge.

Substitute Nohamba broke from a scrum and exchanged passes with centre Andre Esterhuizen before outpacing several Bulls to touch down.

Fly-half Curwin Bosch slotted an easy conversion to earn the Sharks an eight-point win and deprive the Bulls of a losing bonus point.

"Sanele is an exciting prospect," said new Sharks skipper and centre Lukhanyo Am, who was part of the Springbok Rugby World Cup-winning side in Japan last November.

"The result was great but we made too many errors and need to work on our set pieces. The conditions made the ball slippery, resulting in some poor handling."

Bulls captain and centre Burger Odendaal said he was "gutted" by the result at Kings Park.

"While we let this one slip from our grasp, there were a lot of positives to take out of the match and it was great to have Morne (Steyn) back at fly-half."

- Steyn kicks 15 points -

Steyn has returned to the Bulls after seven years with French Top 14 outfit Stade Francais and scored all their points from four penalties and a drop goal.

The Sharks outscored the Bulls by two tries to nil in hot, humid conditions with the first coming from Rugby World Cup squad winger Sibusiso Nkosi just after half-time.

Kept out of the Springbok starting line-up by the brilliance of Cheslin Kolbe, Nkosi struck on 44 minutes to give the hosts the lead after trailing 9-6 at half-time.

Bulls winger Rosco Specman reacted slowly to a cross kick from Bosch and Nkosi surged forward to dot down with millimetres to spare.

Bosch converted for a 13-9 lead that he extended with his third penalty before Steyn succeeded twice from three penalty attempts to leave just one point between the sides.

Earlier on the opening day, the Waikato Chiefs made a winning debut under former Wales coach, Warren Gatland beating fellow New Zealanders the Auckland Blues 37-29 away.

The ACT Brumbies then edged the Queensland Reds 27-24 in an Australian showdown with a Harry Wilson try for the losers setting up a tense finish in Canberra.