Believe it or not, there’s yet another team from Durban quietly going about their business and looking excellently placed to top the table come semi-final time. The Sharks XV recorded a vital away win over Free State in the Vodacom Cup this weekend to retain top spot on the South Section log.
The Sharks XV so far are completely unrecognisable from the Wildebeest team that stuttered and struggle to a lucky fourth-place finish in the group stages of last year’s Vodacom Cup. This year’s outfit seem to have taken a leaf out of the Super 14 Sharks’ book. They are playing with confidence and they know how to win. Nobody has made a bigger contribution to the cause so far than fullback Monty Dumond, currently the tournament’s leading points scorer. With 41 points from 11 penalties and 4 conversions from just two games, Monty was certainly the difference on Saturday. The scoreboard will show that Free State outscored the SHarks XV by two tries to one – the reality of the situation was that Dumond’s metronomic boot had the hosts playing catch-up rugby right from the start. Lwazi Mvovo scored the only try for the Sharks early on and it was the Monty show from that point forward.
It’s best not to get too carried away in this competition, but the Sharks XV really have done well to set themselves up with this away win over one of the early-season favourites. Three home games follow for them – two potentially tricky encounters against SWD and Western Province, with an easier outing against the not-so-mighty Elephants and a trip down to East London to play Border thrown in. Top spot on the South Section log at the end of the regular season looks a distinct possibility and the Sharks XV will be going all out to secure that honour, with Griquas looming as the most dangerous team in the other half of the draw.
The team looks settled now, particularly in the backs, with Andries Strauss bringing his calm, mature leadership style to the party. Dumond, Len Olivier, Lwazi Mvovo, Chris Jordaan and Charl MacLeod all have Currie Cup experience and the wise backs are perfectly offset by a young pack, full of guys eager to make their mark.
This bodes well, Sharks fans. Should these guys win the Vodacom Cup, coupled with the Sharks doing well in the Super 14, it would take a brave man to bet against the Currie Cup trophy staying in Durban for another year.Tweet