Sharks skipper Lukhanyo Am was understandably delighted with his team’s runway 42-20 win over the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday 7 February.

Am said the team carried a fair amount of confidence into the clash after seeing off the Bulls in week one of the 2020 Super Rugby season.

Am’s Sharks confident start to Super Rugby 2020

The Highlanders had an opening week bye and looked every bit like a rusty team in the opening match of their Super Rugby campaign.

James Venter stormed over for the first try just over half an hour into the match after an excellent kick-chase from Madosh Tambwe saw the ball fall to Kerron van Vuuren.

Sikhumbuzo Notshe had an excellent game from the back of the Sharks scrum and he was instrumental in both of Makazole Mapimpi’s first-half tries.

“It was a great win, a great effort from the boys,” Am said after the win.
“I think from last week going into this week we had a little bit of confidence. Coming here [ to Dunedin] and getting the first win on tour was really great.
“We are really happy with the result and from here we are just going to try to build confidence and try to be consistent in our performances.”

The Sharks had to overcome a Highlanders’ fightback in the second half but a brace from Aphelele Fassi in the last ten minutes would seal the victory for the tourists.

Am proud of the boys

Super Rugby 2020: Confident Sharks target consistency_1
Highlanders’ Jesse Parete (R) looks to pass as he is tackled by Sharks’ captain Lukhanyo Am during the Super Rugby match between New Zealand’s Highlanders and South Africa’s Sharks at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on February 7, 2020. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP)

Am was happy with the work-rate of his players especially on defence and the only real concern for Sharks coach Sean Everitt will be the penalty count.

“We played for each other, and the work-rate was great. The Highlanders managed to put us under pressure but we bounced back which was really impressive for the boys,” said Am when asked what impressed him most about the Sharks win in a post-match interview.

Am expects the Sharks next assignment, a visit to Wellington to face the Hurricanes to be a tough match. The Canes lost 27-0 to the Stormers in their first match of the season, but the meeting will be the side’s first home game of this term, and Am expects a titanic battle.

“They will be coming back from tour; it will be their first game at home so I think it is going to be another tough one. From our side we will try to keep it balanced and manage the game and maybe pull a few tricks out of our sleeves.”

Highlanders 20-42 Sharks – Highlights