Thaakir Abrahams scored a stunning try for the Sharks. Photo: URC website

Thaakir Abrahams scored a stunning try for the Sharks. Photo: URC website

REPORT: Leinster surge past Sharks

The Sharks played their part in a scintillating 13-try tussle which Leinster clinically closed out for a 54-34 bonus-point win in the URC.

Thaakir Abrahams scored a stunning try for the Sharks. Photo: URC website

Thaakir Abrahams scored a stunning try for the Sharks. Photo: URC website

A breathless six-try first half ended 21-20 in Leinster’s favour, the Sharks twice taking the lead but Garry Ringrose’s second score edging the hosts ahead.

Jason Jenkins and Aphelele Fassi traded early seven-pointers and the South Africans surged ahead thanks to back-to-back efforts from Werner Kok and Thaakir Abrahams.

Fassi and Abrahams went on to bag braces, but Leinster piled on the points, with Andrew Porter, Robbie Henshaw, Rob Russell, captain Johnny Sexton – who converted all bar one of the eight tries – and John McKee all crossing after the break.


Second-row Jenkins crashed over to give Leinster the ideal start, but the injury-enforced departure of Rhys Ruddock, a late replacement himself, forced a reshuffle.

Nice hands from Ben Tapuai and Boeta Chamberlain sent Fassi knifing through in the ninth minute, with Chamberlain’s conversion levelling it.

Leinster conceded six penalties inside the opening 23 minutes, the latest one allowing Chamberlain to make it 10-7.

Brought on as a replacement, Ringrose replied with a terrific seven-pointer, bouncing off one defender, sidestepping another and showing his strength to make the line.

However, Sexton’s conversion for 14-10 was followed by a first-phase Kok try, which saw Abrahams shine in the build-up, and Rohan Janse van Rensburg then sent Abrahams over.


Henshaw’s deft kick out to the right saw Ringrose complete his brace in the 37th minute, the conversion from Sexton giving Leinster a one-point interval lead.

The Sharks are still without several top Springboks

Early second-half pressure put Porter over for a 46th-minute bonus-point try, only for the jet-heeled Abrahams to hit back with an early try-of-the-season contender.

From there, Leinster pushed on despite losing Ryan Baird to a worrying head injury. Henshaw scored from Charlie Ngatai’s clever kick and Cormac Foley set up Russell for his first provincial try.

Sexton and Fassi exchanged chip-and-chase scores, before an ill-tempered spell saw Sharks centre Janse van Rensburg sent off for a high tackle on Ross Byrne. McKee mopped up with a 75th-minute maul try.

United Rugby Championship Player of the Match

Abrahams sparkled in attack, while the Sharks pack were workhorses throughout, particularly at the breakdown during the first half.

It was hard to look past Ringrose, though, given his impact off the bench. Two tries and a number of big moments, including some lung-busting runs as the game became looser and looser.

Play of the match

Spoilt for choice. Ringrose came up with a smashing score in the first half, but the plaudits have to go to Sharks flyer Abrahams.

With 53 minutes on the clock, he fielded a kick on halfway, dashed past two tackles and pipped Ringrose in a foot race to score from his own kick through.