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Currie Cup Log

Team Points
Premier Division
Xerox Golden Lions 10 10 48
Vodacom Blue Bulls 10 8 39
DHL Western Province 10 7 35
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 10 3 24
Cell C Sharks 10 4 22
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Huge win for Sharks under 21s

Written by beet bailey (beet)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 22 Aug 2011 at 09:35
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

The Sharks under 21 team scored 11 tries on their way to a 71-17 win against their Leopards counterparts on Friday evening. Although the possibility of defeat was not a consideration coming into this home game, the magnitude of the final score was somewhat of a surprise given the fact that the Leopards often produce very competitive teams at junior level.

While the win did little to change their overall position of 4th on the log, the 5-points gained helped the Sharks junior team to move to within striking distance of the Bulls and Lions, who are 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The match saw the Sharks youngsters dominant up front. The two opensiders Francois Kleinhans and Chris Cloete proved to be too much for the Leopards to handle at the breakdown and the backs had it all their own way for most of the match thanks to a plentiful supply of quality ball.

The Sharks try scorers were Schonert, Minnie, du Toit, Prinsloo(2), van Tonder (3), Lindeque, Williams and Marais.

Fullback Gouws Prinsloo added 16 points with the boot to finish with a tally of 26 for the night. His ability to kick at goal is an added bonus because the young fullback has actually stood out this season with the ball in hand. Prinsloo has good pace, a useful step and wonderful feel for the game, which more often than not results in him being in the right position and exercising the right option at the right time on the field. His attacking qualities from the back are certainly a feature that the Sharks Super Rugby team was in need of in 2011. Although it would be premature to start bracketing Prinsloo with the likes of attack-minded players like Beale, Muliaina, Dagg or Flynn, there is definitely a punch to his play that merits at a very minimum, a chance to prove himself at senior Currie Cup level.

In a one-sided match of this nature, most players on the winning team stand out. It was therefore difficult to gain a more meaningful understanding of the potential advantages or limitations of Cobus Reinach, Paul Jordaan, Heimar Williams or Piet Lindeque from this outing. Certainly the performances of Conrad Hoffman, Meyer Bosman and Marius Joubert suggest that the Sharks should be monitoring the progress of these young guns very closely to determine if and when the time is right to expose their talents to the faster paced and more intense world of senior level.

Two players that were given the hardest of hard times last weekend against WP under 21 were starting locks Pieter-Steph du Toit and Ukrainian import Karolis Navickas. There is no doubt that both players would have experienced a tough week on the training ground, in an effort to fix what had gone dismally wrong in the lineouts at Newlands. Whatever work had been put in, paid off. Given his young age and ability to hold his own at this level, Pieter-Steph is arguably the most promising junior player on the Sharks books at the moment. If he continues to make progress at this rate, his future in professional rugby looks very bright indeed. Navickas bounced back from adversity in the best way possible. His lineout work was exceptional and in open play he proved to be a very physical presence, be it tackling, cleaning out or ball carrying.

Next up for the Sharks u21 is the very unpredictable Lions team. Returning from this road trip with a win is not an unlikely outcome. If the Sharks junior team can apply themselves and play each match from here on out to their true potential, they should be able to put themselves in contention for a home semi-final later in the year.


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