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Sharks XV open in style


Written by Maria Delport (Letgo)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Vodacom Cup on 23 Mar 2015 at 07:00
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

The Sharks XV took on the Border Bulldogs in the Vodacom Cup at Kings Park on Saturday, and with a team filled with Currie Cup and some Super Rugby experience ran in a overwhelming 53 – 0 victory, scoring 7 tries.

The scoring was opened within two minutes of the start of the match, with a well-worked try after a strong scrum on the halfway line. Super Rugby players Fred Zeilinga and S’bura Sithole combined well with a loop around move putting Jaco van Tonder into space beautifully. The fullback ran a straight line, drew the final defender and put Sizo Maseko away to sprint for the line. Zeilinga was unable to convert the angled conversion, his only missed kick of the day.

The second try came in the 26th minute, when an extended period of pressure in the Bulldogs 22 ended with Jaco van Tonder, who was also having a good game, going over untouched after a smart offload from his wing.

Unfortunately young Jean-Luc du Plessis limped of the field at this stage and was replaced by Sias Koen. Etienne Ooshtuizen was replaced by Hyron Andrews shortly after, on the half-hour mark, seemingly a planned substitution.

The half ended with the score 18 – 0.

The second half started with another quick try, this one from a kick return. Jaco van Tonder, from deep in his own half ran onto a bouncing ball; attacking the line, he gave the ball to 8th man Johann Meyer, who burst through the defense and made a run upfield. Van Tonder was in support and with quick hands tapped the ball to Stefan Ungerer on his inside. Ungerer held onto the pass beautifully, grasping it from behind and getting control on his hip. After another quick pass to his inside to the flying lock Andrews, Ungerer looped around to take the final pass and dot down for a beautiful try. Zeilinga slotted the easy conversion.

A minute later Khaya Majola went over for a try of his own. The nuggety flank broke away from the back of a maul on the Border 22 meter line, threw a dummy and ran in for the try. The bonus point was done and dusted with less than 4 minutes on the clock in the second half. In his last play of the match Zeilinga obliged with another easy conversion, the score 32 – 0 with 45 minutes elapsed. The young flyhalf, who could be in line to cover for Patrick Lambie, when he is given a rest, had an excellent afternoon, taking on the line and putting his players into space. Lionel Cronje replaced Zeilinga at flyhalf and he too had a great run in his 35 minutes.

The floodgates had opened and not a minute later Thomas du Toit got a turn to burst through the defence, making a good 20 meter run before offloading to Ungerer, who dived over for his second try. Cronje converted and the score was now 39 – 0 after 47 minutes.

S’bura Sithole, who could also be pleased with his return to the rugby field after a busy day in the midfield, was replaced on the 60 minute mark. Seven minutes later another forward limped off; JC Astle looked very uncomfortable and had to be replaced, but with no more forwards on the bench, Hanco Venter came onto the field and had to fill in at the side of the scrum.

The scoring dried up with the Border Bulldogs doing the most of the play for the next 20 minutes or so, the Sharks’ defense holding them scoreless. The Sharks XV finally pushed back into the Border half with less than 10 minutes on the clock. A driving maul was illegally stopped by the Bulldogs only 5 meters out, Ungerer took the quick tap, the Tank du Toit carried it up and offloaded to Maseko who dived over for his second try. Cronje converted the angled kick to make the score 46 – 0.

The last score of the match was created by Lionel Cronje, when he pounced on a spilled ball just outside the Bulldogs 22, he put right wing Alcino Izaacs into space down the right hand touch line for a try in the corner, which the flyhalf converted beautifully to make the final score 53 – 0.

It was a very nice showing by the Vodacom Cup side and although against inferior opposition, the coaches can be pleased with their start. The same holds for the Super Rugby coaches who would have had a close look at a few performances and players returning from injuries.

It was good to see Oosthuizen have a run after an extended layoff. S’bura in the centres had a strong showing. Young Thomas du Toit continues to grow as a player, but what was most pleasing was to see the performances of players who might need to stand in when the Super Rugby team need to rest their Bok players. Fred Zeilinga and Stefan Ungerer looked really sharp and combined well, while Johann Meyer at the back of the scrum had a massive performance in the eighthman position and could be a possible bench option if Marcell Coetzee is rested, with Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel and Tera Mtembu also still on the sideline with injuries.

Another player who impressed, was Jaco van Tonder. SP Marais put in another one of his better performances against the Chiefs in the wet, but the 23 year old van Tonder could still be an option in a position where the Sharks Super Rugby team have little back up.

All in all, a pleasing outing for the Sharks.

Sharks XV 53 (18): Sizo Maseko (2), Jaco van Tonder, Stefan Ungerer (2), Khaya Majola, Alcino Izaacs. Conversion. Fred Zeilinga (3), Lionel Cronje (3). Penalties: Zeilinga (2).

Border Bulldogs: 0 (0)



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