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June 27, 2017

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South Africa's Coastal Sharks in the swim to extend Super 15 lead

SYDNEY -- South Africa's Coastal Sharks stretched their Super 15 lead to six points with a comprehensive victory over the New South Wales Waratahs at the weekend, with just a single point separating the next six teams.

The Durban-based Sharks bounced back from their first loss of the season at the hands of the Northern Bulls the previous week to down the Waratahs 32-10, scoring two tries to one with fly-half Fred Zeilinga kicking 19 points.

The Sharks, who have 23 points, pulled away from title rivals ACT Brumbies, upset by the Melbourne Rebels, and defending champions Waikato Chiefs, who snatched a late draw with the Bulls. The Brumbies and the Chiefs are both six points off the top.

One point further back are the Golden Lions, Waratahs, Auckland Blues and Bulls after seven rounds of the southern hemisphere provincial championship.

The Blues downed the Otago Highlanders 30-12 in Auckland and the Bulls drew 34-34 with the Chiefs, while the Golden Lions along with the Central Cheetahs and Western Force had weekend byes.

In other games, the Queensland Reds ground out a 22-17 win over South Africa's Western Stormers and the Wellington Hurricanes won away 29-26 against the Canterbury Crusaders.

In Durban, Jake White's Sharks were always in command against the Waratahs, who were missing Wallaby fullback Israel Folau, suffering from a bruised throat.

The home side built up a 12-3 half-time lead before scoring two second-half tries against the visitors, who had defeated the Sharks in 11 of 15 previous meetings.

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