Sharks set the pace from the first whistle, forcing their high flying guests onto the back foot. Macleod and Powell were prominent as the Tigers were deep in defence. With just seven minutes gone, the home side took the lead. Addison took a quick lineout to Cueto, who set up an attack which ended with Miller surging over the line on the right.
The rolling maul was used liberally by both sides, and from a twelfth minute break by Kitchener Sharks conceded a penalty, the first of five sent between the posts by Ford through the evening. The Sharks snatched the lead back after sixteen minutes through a Macleod penalty, and continued to play with commendable passion.
Six minutes later, the referee's interpretation at scrum time twice went in the Tigers' favour, allowing Ford a second penalty chance. Buckley and Gray mounted a good attack, but the final delivery was too slow.
On the half hour mark, Willis broke away out of defence, only for Goneva to commit a technical offence for which he was shown a yellow card. No further scoring ensued during his absence, although there should have been a second try on 33 minutes. Sharks opted to go right when there were plenty of men on the left. Nonethless, Addison burrowed his way over but on referral to the TMO, a knockon eliminated the 'score'.
Sharks ended the first half in combative fashion, with Cueto effectively catching a high ball to set up Miller and Vernon on a dangerous break. An 8-6 interval scoreline was acceptable, but not conclusive.
The Tigers stepped up the pace after half time, with Ford's third penalty on 43 minutes giving them a lead that they wouldn't lose. Their lone try came three minutes later, when scrum half Youngs broke clear on the blindside from a rolling maul.
On 51 minutes, the Sharks' front row fell foul of officialdom, giving Ford his fourth penalty. The introduction of Fowles after 58 minutes maintained the threat from the breakdown, and the Sharks had a spell of imaginative attacking. Miller produced a superb catch and run, then Powell set up Fowles with a chance to show electrifying pace down the wing.
One of the game's 'interludes' on 68 minutes was followed by Macleod missing a penalty, but after Morris had smothered an Addison attack, the Tigers finished the stronger.
The home scrum was in difficulties on 73 minutes, leading to another 'meeting of the forwards' during which Ward was yellow carded for foul play. Ford sent over his final penalty, and the Tigers ended the stronger-looking side against fourteen men, with Tuitupou forced to become a flanker at a late scrum.
"We needed that try before half time to give us a little bit of a cushion," said Sharks' Director of Rugby Bryan Redpath. "We knew they had a strong bench coming off, in terms of the set piece, and they put us under the cosh during the second half. The referee makes decisions, and we accept them."
Scoring: (Sharks first) 5-0, 5-3, 8-3, 8-6 (Half Time) 8-9, 8-14, 8-17, 8-20.
Squad: 15.Rob Miller, 14.Will Addison, 13.Johnny Leota, 12.Sam Tuitupou, 11.Mark Cueto, 10.Nick Macleod, 9.Cillian Willis, 1.Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 2.Tommy Taylor, 3.Tony Buckley, 4.Richie Gray, 5.Fraser McKenzie, 6.Richie Vernon, 7.David Seymour (capt.), 8.Andy Powell
Replacements: 16.Joe Ward for Taylor (63), 17.Ross Harrison (not used), 18.Vadim Cobilas for Buckley (50), 19.Kearnan Myall for McKenzie (70), 20.James Gaskell for Vernon (74), 21.Nathan Fowles for Willis (58), 22.Corne Uys for Cueto (72), 23.Mark Jennings (not used.) Further replacement: Taylor for Powell - temporary front row replacement with Ward off the pitch (75)
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