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Ken Borland

Sodden conditions can’t dampen Sharks’ ambition 0

Posted on August 24, 2015 by Ken


One would have thought the sodden conditions at King’s Park would have put a damper on the Cell C Sharks’ ambitions but they pulled off a superb bonus-point 29-12 win over the Emirates Lions in their Vodacom SuperRugby match in Durban on Saturday night.

There was a torrential downpour about an hour before kickoff and the rain was falling steadily until the second half, so ball-in-hand, positive rugby was never on the cards, but a magnificent forward display by the Sharks and the brilliant generalship of Pat Lambie at flyhalf allowed the Sharks to score four tries.

The foundation for their success was laid in the scrums.

The Lions’ scrum was one of the best in the competition last year, but the first-choice front row of Van der Merwe, Coetzee and Redelinghuys was strangely on the bench, and the Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck, with the able assistance of Dale Chadwick at loosehead, won all the early battles in that set-piece and the Sharks’ first points as well as their second try both came from huge shoves by the pack.

The Lions were on the board first through a Marnitz Boshoff penalty in the third minute, but five minutes later, a stupendous scrum by the Sharks allowed Lambie to slot an angled penalty from between the 10m and halfway lines, a great effort considering the flooded field beneath his feet.

The Sharks’ rolling maul also had the Lions’ defence in disarray and it earned a penalty for the home side in the 21st minute, which Lambie pushed wide of the poles.

But the flyhalf’s liberal use of the crosskick also had the Lions scrambling and the first try came when Lambie’s kick to the left was won back by Lwazi Mvovo and the Springbok incumbent then spotted acres of space on the left and put in a pinpoint kick into the safe hands of Odwa Ndungane, who used the slippery surface to slide over the line.

The Sharks, in control up front and with a flyhalf who had clearly changed his game plan to suit the conditions, were obviously the best team in the first half and they made that dominance count with a second try in the 30th minute.

Strong forward drives by flank Renaldo Bothma  and debutant lock Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda earned the Sharks a five-metre scrum. A massive shove made a try inevitable, but scrumhalf Cobus Reinach almost butchered the opportunity by not passing, before eventually reaching out at full-stretch to just dot the ball down on the line.

Boshoff kicked a second penalty for the Lions three minutes later, but the Sharks were so dominant that it didn’t seem to matter as they went into halftime 15-6 up.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann changed his entire front row early in the second half, and there was a noticeable improvement in the visitors’ performance, so one has to ask why they were on the bench in the first place, especially props Schalk van der Merwe and Julian Redelinghuys.

And so the Lions dominated the third quarter, allowing Boshoff to kick two more penalties and close the gap to 12-15.

But the Sharks, with Matt Stevens doing well at tighthead when he replaced the excellent Jannie du Plessis, regained the early dominance they had enjoyed at scrum-time and Ndungane, once again sharp when it came to contesting the ball in the air, forced the Lions to concede a lineout inside their 22 after another precise Lambie cross-kick.

Pieter-Steph du Toit, the best lineout jumper on the night, claimed the ball and the Sharks’ rolling maul bulldozed forward, flank Marcell Coetzee scoring the try.

Lambie’s conversion made it 22-12 and, with Lions captain and breakaway eighthman Warren Whiteley sent off the field for slapping the ball out of the hands of the halfback at a ruck, the Sharks rumbled over for another rolling-maul try by Coetzee to seal a convincing win.

The try was converted by Lambie, who had done so much in ensuring the dominance of the forwards was reflected on the scoreboard. He was ably assisted by halfback partner Reinach, and the Lions pairing of Boshoff and Ross Cronje, both Springbok hopefuls, were thoroughly outplayed by Lambie and Reinach.

The superb displays of the Du Plessis brothers, Du Toit, Reinach and Lambie will surely not go unnoticed by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer with the World Cup in the northern hemisphere later this year.


Sharks – Tries: Odwa Ndungane, Cobus Reinach, Marcell Coetzee (2). Conversions: Pat Lambie (3). Penalty: Lambie.

Lions – Penalties: Marnitz Boshoff (4).




Tuks blare their title ambitions out 0

Posted on April 28, 2014 by Ken

Assupol Tuks sent their Momentum National Club Championships title hat-trick ambitions blaring out all over the fields of Pretoria as they hammered Western Province champions Cape Town CC by 104 runs on day two at Sinovich Park yesterday.

Former SA U19 star Murray Coetzee put aside months of frustration due to a broken wrist as he stroked a brilliant 111 off 127 balls to stake his claim for further chances in a powerhouse batting unit.

Coetzee stroked 10 fours, mostly down the ground, as he set up the game with Aiden Markram in an opening stand of 99 off 136 balls after Tukkies chose to bat first.

Markram, the captain of the world champion current SA U19 side, continued to impress at senior level as he compiled a classy 59 off 71 balls.

Tukkies coach Pierre de Bruyn said Coetzee’s performance showed the quality of the 20-year-old both on and off the field, having been a late call-up to the squad after regular captain Theunis de Bruyn withdrew due to illness.

“Murray’s had a really frustrating second half to the season but one thing about this kid is that he went through his rehab and really worked hard. He had to sacrifice a lot and he had to get back in line.

“He got his opportunity because of Theunis withdrawing and he used it. Murray’s a quality cricketer and truly professional in his ways, he puts in a lot of effort on and off the field.

“He showed he’s a very mature cricketer because he had limited preparation but still managed to construct an innings like that after not playing competitive cricket for three or four weeks. It showed his quality,” De Bruyn said after the game.

With Johan Wessels adding 52 off just 57 balls, the University of Pretoria posted a formidable 287 for six, and with the all-round attack he’s blessed with, De Bruyn was always confident his team would make it two wins from two games.

A top-class opening burst from Gerhard Linde and Sean Nowak ensured that Cape Town CC were always behind the required run-rate and a brilliant run out by Graeme van Buuren saw them slump to 34 for three in the 13th over.

Tertius Gouws (2-30) was an accurate third member of the pace trio yesterday and Tukkies also fielded a quality spin trio in Van Buuren (2-31), Ruben Claasen (10 overs for 30) and Markram, and there was never a hint of the pressure being released.

Tom Main scored a bright 51 off 55 balls with three sixes, while Marc de Beer made a defiant 47 down the order, but a Tukkies victory was never in doubt.

The robust Linde was the best of the student bowlers with two for 19 in seven overs.


Section One: NMMU PE Madibaz 312-4 (Ed Moore 137, David White 53, Peter Furstenburg 51 not out) NWU Pukke 186 (Wimpie Viljoen 43) NMMU PE Madibaz won by 126 runs. Crusaders 351 (Jared van Heerden 54, Riaan Minnie 56, Sean Dixon 121; Jan Frylinck 7-35) West End 266-8 (Xander Pitchers 113 not out, Jan Frylinck 46) Crusaders won by 85 runs. University of Jhb 254 (Lee Gruskin 55, Harry van Straaten 44; Philippus Cronje 4-50) University of Free State Kovsies 120 (Harry van Straaten 4-26) University of Jhb won by 134 runs.

Section Two: Tukkies 287-6 (Aiden Markram 59, Murray Coetzee 111, Johan Wessels 52) Cape Town CC 183 (Tom Main 51, Marc de Beer 47) Tukkies won by 104 runs. United CC 236-9 (Bevan Bennett 47, Kevin Bennett 53; Jurie Snyman 4-40) Kempton Park 237-4 (Wesley Marshall 97, JC Fourie 99) Kempton Park won by 6 wickets. NMMU George 119 (Niel Botha 5-30) Maties 123-3 (Mark van Heerden 47 not out) Maties won by seven wickets.

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