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Sharks end road trip on a high

THE Sharks scored three tries in a devastating 22-minute burst to beat Australia's Western Force 22-10 in Super 14 yesterday and end their road trip on a high in Perth.

Wings J.P. Pietersen and Odwa Ndungane and scrumhalf Rory Kockott all bagged five-pointers as the Sharks suddenly burst into life after a dour first half.

The South Africans, runners-up two years ago, are perfectly placed to make another run at the title after winning five of their first six games.

They return to South Africa with all but one of their remaining seven matches at home in Durban.

They were beaten by Queensland last week but their victory over the Force gave them three wins from four matches on their Australasian leg.

"We were under a lot of pressure this week with a lot of people writing us off but it just shows the character of this side," Sharks captain Johann Muller said.

The Force led for most of the first half after Matt Giteau kicked an early penalty but did not score for more than an hour until Scott Staniforth scored a late consolation try.

Elsewhere in Super 14 yesterday, it was: Chiefs 63, Blues 34; Crusaders 17, Waratahs 13; and Highlanders 32, Cheetahs 8.

In Hamilton, New Zealand, All Blacks winger Sitiveni Sivivatu scored four tries to propel the Waikato Chiefs to a rout of the Auckland Blues.

The Chiefs ran in nine tries in total as their All Blacks-laden backline ran riot against a porous Auckland defense.

Richard Kahui, Brendon Leonard, Liam Messam, Lelia Masaga and Callum Bruce also scored tries in a clinical Chiefs performance.

Isaia Toeava, Anthony Tuitavake and replacement Jamie Helleur all scored tries to ensure the visitors at least came away with a bonus point before Joe Rokocoko, who is Sivivatu's cousin, added his second try in the final minute.

In Sydney, the Canterbury Crusaders breathed new life into their faltering Super 14 defense with victory over Australia's New South Wales Waratahs.

The New Zealanders had managed just one win and a draw from their previous five matches but held on grimly to upset the Waratahs.

The Crusaders led 7-0 at halftime after an early try from Isaac Ross then grabbed a decisive lead in the second term when former All Blacks fullback Leon MacDonald scored a length-of-the-field touchdown.

In Dunedin, All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson scored two tries to help the Otago Highlanders to a bonus-point 32-8 victory over South Africa's Cheetahs.


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