A late try to replacement halfback and NSW Waratahs debutant Mitch Short has earned his side a 24-24 Super Rugby draw with the Sharks in Durban.
The Tahs led 7-0 after an early converted try to starting scrumhalf Jake Gordon, but the visitors twice trailed by seven in the second half.
NSW played the second half without Wallabies centre Kurtley Beale, who reportedly suffered a rib injury, which forced a reshuffle in the visitors’ backline.
Both teams scored three tries in a scrappy mistake-marred match in which neither side ever led by more than seven points.
Former Force player Short sprinted 25 metres for his 76th minute try to finish off a devastating counter attack from almost 75 metres out.
Flyhalf Bernard Foley centre Lalakai Foketi and replacement back Bryce Hegarty each played his part perfectly in the leadup.
Foley converted from near the left hand sideline and the Tahs claimed two points after Sharks replacement back Curwin Bosch put one long range field goal attempt wide and had another one charged down.
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Springboks centre Lukhanyo Am scored a try in each half for the Sharks, who dominated territory and possession in the first half but couldn’t capitalise.
His centre partner Andre Esterhuizen set up one of the tries and caused the Tahs problems with his strong running and defence.
The score was 10-10 at halftime, but Am’s second try and the conversion gave the home side an advantage early in the second half.
Impressive Tahs captain and flanker Michael Hooper raced 45 metres after taking a pass from prop Tom Robertson, when Sharks backrower Keegan Daniel lost the ball after taking a quick lineout to himself.
Foley converted to level the score but the Sharks looked like they had secured a win, when flyhalf Robert Du Preez converted his own 71st minute try.
But the resilient Tahs and their bunch of youthful replacements dug deep and produced one final telling thrust to earn a share of the spoils and remain unbeaten.
Tries: Am 2, du Preez
Conversions: du Preez 3
Penalties: du Preez 1
NSW Waratahs 24
Tries: Gordon, Hooper, Short
Conversions: Foley 3
Penalties: Foley 1