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Force hopes dealt a blow in Sharks mauling

NZN 6/05/2017 Brett McKay

The Western Force's plans to snatch the Australian conference lead in Super Rugby have been dealt a blow with a 25-point loss to the Sharks in Durban.

The hosts prevailed 37-12 in front of

Pointing to the tightness of the Australian conference this week, the Force declared their aim was to run down the Brumbies, who now remain on top despite having the bye.

Despite no Australian team having more than three wins after round 11, the loss doesn't necessarily knock the Force out of contention, who have a game in hand over the remaining six rounds.

A freakish try down the touchline from Sharks five-eighth Curwin Bosch effectively sealed the four-tries-to-two win with 25 minutes play, though both sides would cross again in a game littered with errors, turnovers, and missed tackles.

Fittingly, a simple Sharks knock-on in attack ended the game, coming moments after the Force did the same thing after 17 phases on the Sharks' line.

The precociously talented Bosch finished with 20 points from his try, three penalty goals, and three conversions.

Bosch opened the scoring with two penalties but it was the Force who crossed the line first. Exciting young winger James Verity-Amm showed some outstanding pace to slice through the Sharks' defence and score his first Super Rugby try.

The firsts continued just before the break when Sharks inside centre Jeremy Ward crashed over next to the posts for his maiden Super Rugby try while Force centre Curtis Rona was off with a yellow card. Flanker Jean-Luc du Preez also crossed on the stroke of halftime, to give the Sharks a 20-7 lead at the break.

As if the drought against New Zealand teams wasn't enough of a hoodoo, Australian sides now have now lost their last matches played outside Australia.

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