South Africa’s Sharks showed promise on Saturday ahead of their Super Rugby season opener, easily overcoming France’s Racing 92 31-14 in their Natixis Cup clash in Hong Kong.

The first South African Super Rugby side to play in the city, the Sharks scored five tries against Racing’s two as they prepare to take on the Lions on February 17.

Racing, in the middle of their French Top 14 season, were without All Blacks legend Dan Carter who sat out with a calf strain, as well as captain Dimitri Szarzewski, selected 83 times for France, who was also injured.

“[We have] the Super Rugby campaign coming up so we’re just focusing on that now,” Sharks captain Robert du Preez said after the match at the Aberdeen Sports Ground.
“It’s always good to get a hit-out early in the season.”

The Sharks got off to a strong start with winger Makazola Mapimpi crashing over eight and a half minutes in.

Centre Marius Louw bumped up the score after an off-load by Stephan Lewies, before Robert du Preez converted to give the side a 12-0 lead by the end of the first half.

The South Africans continued to dominate as the second half got underway, with Louw touching down again after just four minutes.

Racing looked like they could make a comeback as So’otala Fa’aso’o landed their first try of the math before the Sharks’ Cameron Wright took the scores to 24-7.

Racing managed a second try from Xavier Chauveau but in the end it was the Sharks who triumphed, with fullback Lwazi Mvovo making a dash for the line and setting up a final try by Curwin Bosch.

“Hopefully we get invited again and hopefully the result will be different,” said Racing’s Joe Rokocoko, who also plays for the All Blacks.

Asked if the team had missed two-time World Cup winner Carter, he joked: “Ah yeah, he always adds a bit.”