30 May 2015

Sharks end Rebels' playoff hopes

1:40 pm on 30 May 2015

South Africa's Sharks provided a knockout blow to the Melbourne Rebel's Super Rugby playoff hopes with a 25-21 victory at King's Park on Friday.

Scott Higginbotham during the Rebels win over the Crusaders, 2015.

Scott Higginbotham during the Rebels win over the Crusaders, 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Rebels, who played for 52 minutes with 14 men after a red card for prop Laurie Weeks, have 31 points from their 14 matches and with two rounds remaining are now out of the running for a top-six place.

That hope had long disappeared for the Sharks, who have endured a dismal season but are at least providing a strong finish with back-to-back wins.

The Rebels' cause was not helped by the sending-off of Weeks on 28 minutes after he got involved in a scuffle with opposite number Jannie du Plessis, landing some punches.

The latter got away with a yellow.

Wings Sibusiso Sithole and Lwazi Mvovo crossed the tryline for the Sharks, with replacement centre Heimar Williams grabbing their third score.

Flyhalf Lionel Cronje added two penalties and two conversions.

Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham was superb as he crossed for two tries and laid on a third for Bryce Hegarty, but could not claw his side over the line.

Flyhalf Jack Debreczeni converted the three tries.

The Rebels have now lost all 10 of their matches in South Africa since joinging the competition, while the Sharks keep up their excellent run of victories against touring Australian sides having won 11 of the last 12 in Durban.