Last-gasp Am try takes Sharks to Super Rugby quarter-finals

AFP
Coastal Sharks match-winner Lukhanyo Am (C) (AFP Photo/Saeed KHAN)

Coastal Sharks match-winner Lukhanyo Am (C)

Coastal Sharks match-winner Lukhanyo Am (C) (AFP Photo/Saeed KHAN)

Johannesburg (AFP) - Lukhanyo Am scored a post-hooter try to snatch a 12-9 Super Rugby final round win for the Coastal Sharks at the Western Stormers on Saturday and a quarter-finals place.

The Sharks travel to Argentina, Australia or New Zealand for the first knockout phase of the competition next weekend, but will know who they play only later Saturday.

Defending champions the Canterbury Crusaders, Jaguares, ACT Brumbies, Wellington Hurricanes, Northern Bulls and Waikato Chiefs have also reached the quarter-finals.

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The last place rests between the Otago Highlanders and the Golden Lions, who are away to the Bulls later Saturday in the final regular-season match.

Losers in the last three finals, the Johannesburg-based Lions need one point in Pretoria to pip the Highlanders.

Springbok centre Am cut inside to score on 82 minutes after the Sharks patiently staged a multi-phase attack that began inside their 22 at Newlands stadium in Cape Town.

Rhyno Smith, an early substitute for injured winger Makazole Mapimpi, scored an intercept try for the Durban-based Sharks in the first half to earn them a 5-3 half-time advantage.

Stormers fly-half Josh Stander kicked penalties before and after Smith scored and another from Jean-Luc du Plessis gave the Cape Town outfit a 9-5 advantage until Am struck.

SuperSport TV analyst and former Springboks coach Nick Mallett was not impressed by the match and labelled both teams "poor".

"The best move of the match was the last, leaving me to wonder why the Sharks took 82 minutes to show some creativity.

"I believe the Sharks will fare better in the quarter-finals than the Stormers would have. The Cape Town side have been hard hit by injuries and do not have much to offer."

A major blow to the Stormers was the loss of concussed No. 8 Jaco Coetzee before half-time and lock Cobus Wiese also retired injured in the opening half.

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