I’ll admit that this one caught me a little by surprise, but the Cronjes twins, Ross and Guy, made their return to rugby after both spending some time on the sidelines ths weekend. Both brothers came on with half an hour remaining to play their part in the Sharks Under 21 side’s gritty 27-23 victory over Free State.
Much as the seniors did, the under 21s left thing very late, only clinching the result in the 75th minute through a Daniel Oijambo try. The big Kenyan, a winger in his under 19 days but now concentrating on becoming a utility forward, was on the bench as the reserve lock. An injury to outside centre Arno van Zyl saw him come on amongst the backs, though and score the decisive points, with Guy Cronje marking his return after nearly a year out of the game by making the conversion. Van Zyl himself had scored an earlier try, with the other Sharks score coming via a penalty try at the end of the first half.
The Sharks squad was further bolstered by the presence of two players who recently did well for the SA Under 20 side in Argentina. Loose forward Tera Mthembu started his first match in Sharks colours on the open side flank, while hooker Monde Hadebe played off the bench. A further Baby Bok star, Sbu Sithole, started in the number 11 jersey after being on the bench last week. The return of the Cronje twins to fitness will give coaches Swys de Bruyn and Rudolf Straueli much to think about ahead of this weekend’s game against the Lions, since incumbent halfbacks Cobus Reinach and Willie du Toit have been in superb form.
The under 19 side continued their impressive form (they stuffed the Griffons by 70 points last week) in downing their Free State counterparts 33-13. The dynamic young centre pairing of Heimar Williams (Affies) and Piet Lindeque (Grey) were again on fire, each scoring a try in the bonus-point victory. Further tries were scored by prop Nick Schonert and impressive flanker Francois Kleinhans, a Glenwood boy who made his debut for the Sharks under 19 side last year, while still at school.
Both age-group teams are now well-placed on the log and apart from losing to the Bulls, are otherwise unbeaten. They’ll want to consolidate against the Lions this coming weekend.Tweet