Super Rugby
Cards aplenty as Sharks edge Chiefs
March 22, 2015
Date/Time: Mar 21, 2015, 19:10 local, 17:10 GMT
Venue: Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Sharks 12 - 11 Chiefs
Half-time: 9 - 11
Pens: Lambie 4
Tries: Cane
Pens: Cruden 2
The Chiefs' Sam Cane touches down from a driving maul, Sharks v Chiefs, Durban, March 21, 2015
The Chiefs' Sam Cane touches down
© Getty Images
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Three players were sent off during the first half as the Sharks edged the Chiefs 12-11 on Saturday in a bruising Super Rugby clash.

Sharks hooker and skipper Bismarck du Plessis and centre Francois Steyn and Chiefs hooker Hikawera Elliot were red-carded by Australian referee Angus Gardner within 28 minutes of the kick-off in Durban. And several other players were lucky to escape at least a yellow card with Chiefs replacement back Tom Marshall not punished for striking scrum-half Cobus Reinach in the back with his knee.

"It was a very ugly first half," conceded Sharks fly-half and stand-in skipper Patrick Lambie. "It is never nice to see players being sent off in a rugby match."

The Sharks over come two red cards to down the Chiefs 12-11 (Australia only)

Chiefs skipper and flanker Liam Messam jumped to the defence of the red-carded trio, stressing that none of them were "dirty players". "Rugby is a contact sport and that is the way it goes sometimes. None of those sent off are dirty players," said the All Blacks back-rower.

Elliot was first to go having struck Sharks prop Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira on the back of the head with a flying shoulder during a ruck after 16 minutes. A fallen Du Plessis followed him to the touchline just two minutes later after pushing his right boot into the side of the face of Chiefs No. 8 and Japan captain Michael Leitch.

Steyn was dismissed on 28 minutes with the referee overruling the television match official (TMO), who believed a dangerous tackle on Chiefs fly-half Aaron Cruden was only a yellow-card offence. A hectic Saturday for Super Rugby referees in South Africa saw New Zealander Nick Briant sin-bin two Western Force forwards within 60 seconds in Pretoria earlier.

Lambie kicked four penalties from five attempts to win the sixth-round game for the Durban outfit, who trailed 11-9 at half-time in wet, windy conditions. Chiefs flanker Sam Cane scored the only try at Kings Park stadium and Cruden slotted two penalties while missing two other shots at goal.

Victory lifted Sharks three places to fifth on the table while two-time champions the Chiefs remained fourth.

Lambie and Cruden exchanged penalties within five minutes of the kick-off and after the three red cards, they slotted another penalty each. Cane struck on 34 minutes with a try that had 'made in South Africa' stamped on it. The Chiefs won a line-out, created a driving maul and over Cane went, using a tactic much favoured by South African Super Rugby teams.

Lambie cut the gap to two points with his third penalty on the stroke of half-time and another successful shot at goal on the hour proved decisive.

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