pastorshark

Highlanders throw Sharks a lifeline


Written by Udo Lütge (pastorshark)

Posted in :Super Rugby on 14 Jul 2018 at 10:08

The Highlanders kept the Sharks playoff hopes alive this morning when they beat the Rebels 43-37 in Dunedin!

For the longest time in this game it did not look as if it was going to go the way the Sharks were hoping. By the end of the first quarter the Rebels were leading 3-17 after scoring two tries. Those two tries were excellent and the Rebels, absolutely switched on, looked as if they would be just too focussed for the Highlanders. The home side made several silly errors and seemed not to have pitched for a game that meant little to them in terms of final log position.

But a silly yellow card to the Rebels scrumhalf Michael Ruru – for tripping Lima Sopoaga – opened the door for the Highlanders…and just like that Naholo pounced for an excellent turnover try, running it in with real gas from 60m out. Sopoaga converted and when Tei Walden ran a beautiful line and put his scrumhalf Kayne Hammington – starting in place of Aaron Smith – in to score under the post, we were suddenly all square after 33 minutes.

Reece Hodge scored his second – the first of two charge down scores for the flyhalf – and the Rebels hit the front again. Right on halftime the Highlanders scored a beauty, Sopoaga’s cross kick finding Naholo, who found James Lentjes on his inside. The flanker got a good offload inside to Walden and the centre was in. That made it 22-24 at halftime.

The Rebels absorbed some pressure in the first ten minutes of the second period and when Hodge struck again to make it a hatrick for himself and 22-31 for his team it looked as if the Rebels were on their way. That feeling was strengthened when a penalty closed out the third quarter with the Rebels leading 22-34 and looking strong.

But New Zealand teams have so often punished Australian and South African teams in the last quarter and they hit the Rebels hard with first two tries in two minutes and then three in twelve. Li, Pleasants-Tate and Franklin had suddenly made it 34-43. In between all that the Highlanders had scored another, but it was rightly overturned as the last pass had gone forward. In that play the Rebels scrumhalf was a touch lucky not to see red after a clothesline tackle to go with his earlier yellow for a trip. Be that as it may, it looked as if the Highlanders had made the game safe.

The Rebels, though, to their credit, did not give up. A penalty with a minute to go was quickly converted to give them a final shot at scoring to secure their playoff spot. And they almost did it. The Highlanders had cleared into touch after the hooter, but the drama was not over. The touch judge pointed out a Highlanders offsides and from the final play the Rebels very nearly scored the try they needed. A desperate and excellent attack was only stopped deep in the Highlanders 22 by a monster tackle by that man – and newly sainted Sharks hero – Waisake Naholo. The Highlanders won a penalty at that breakdown and that was it. The Highlanders had hung on for an entertaining 43-37 home win.

All of that means the Sharks have their destiny in their own hands. They went into the last round 3 points behind the Rebels, as well as 1 win behind and – crucially – level in terms of points difference. All that means that the Rebels bonus point moves them to 36 points to the Sharks 32…but not beyond the reach of the Sharks should they win. A Sharks win – even without a bonus point – would put the teams level on log points and tournament wins. With the next tiebreaker being points difference, a Sharks win would put them into the playoffs as the Sharks start the game with a better points dfference already.

Soooooo…gooooooo SHARKS!!!!



82 Comments

  • No point to it. Going to get hammered hard in Christchurch the following week if we do beat the Jaguars. We simply don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. We were far too inconsistent.

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.07.18 10:19:45 by Ben Reply
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  • Everything to play for now. Our destiny is in our hands. Go Sharks!!!

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.07.18 10:22:10 by StevieS Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 1) : My head tells me the same thing, but my heart is with the Sharks.

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.07.18 10:22:52 by StevieS Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 1) : Fair point…but I’d still rather make the playoffs than not. I really think there is a good argument for changing a tournament setup that rewards teams who have lost more than they have won with a playoff spot…

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.07.18 10:25:15 by pastorshark Reply
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  • I am watching the Crusaders now…and doffing my hat. My word, they play the big moments so well. They haven’t been all over the Blues…and yet, when it matters, they put the foot down, concentrate and suddenly the score is 19-5. Respect…

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.07.18 10:27:24 by pastorshark Reply
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  • The only thing, I suppose, is that if there is any side outside of New Zealand that you would pick to beat a New Zealand side it would be the Sharks…

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.07.18 10:28:52 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Can we play a great game 2 weeks in a row? We have yet to see the full potential of this squad. Hoping for a great effort from the boys today and hopefully a off weekend for the Saders next weekend :mrgreen: a man can wish hey. Well I’ll always support our boys and stay hopeful. Another Canes away effort next week will be great. So let’s go boys!!! Wet here in Durbs but what the heck we must just go out and enjoy ourselves and throw the ball around. Forget the pressure and just have some fun, the results will come. We need that fun and enjoyment back in our squad. Completely off topic, how epic has Kevin Anderson been at Wimbledon? 2 huge 5 set wins in 3 days. Hoping for a Nadal vs Anderson final. And finally, let’s go Sharks, Christchurch is there for the taking. No expectations for us will mean less pressure and more chance of beating them like in 2014. Like I said a man can wish :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.07.18 10:35:11 by Fox Reply

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  • @pastorshark (Comment 6) : Nice one Pastor! Just hope Sharks can standup and deliver when of matters!!!

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.07.18 10:41:44 by JD Reply
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  • @Fox (Comment 7) : Yeah, supporters always…go Sharks!

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.07.18 10:42:28 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Fox (Comment 7) : I still have flu and am stuck in bed at the South Coast – not much of a holiday with this flu. But at least I’ve hd a chance to catch up on my sport! Very wet…I reckon it will be tough conditions for today’s game…

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.07.18 10:45:47 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Fox (Comment 7) : Jeepers, how good was that tennis match. Respect to both men. Well done, Mr Anderson.

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.07.18 10:46:38 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 8) : Thanks…I hope so too! I finally had some time to write something. The advantages of flu!!

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.07.18 10:47:04 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Blues coming back into the game against the Crusaders…26-17 after 26 minutes. 4 tries to 3 so far…

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.07.18 10:51:39 by pastorshark Reply
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  • 66% territory to the Blues!!!

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.07.18 10:53:58 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Two big Crusaders strengths are their defence when under pressure and their ability to make the most of their time in the strike zone…

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.07.18 10:55:37 by pastorshark Reply
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  • And that’s what I mean…Blues on the attack, great defence…and then the lethal strike. Try time Crusaders…

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.07.18 10:59:44 by pastorshark Reply
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  • And now for something completely different: the Proteas were just a bit embarrasing today…73 all out!

  • Comment 17, posted at 14.07.18 11:01:06 by pastorshark Reply
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  • And again…great defence, lethal attack…wow!

  • Comment 18, posted at 14.07.18 11:09:33 by pastorshark Reply
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  • And just like that a tight game on the field translates to 40-17 on the scoreboard!

  • Comment 19, posted at 14.07.18 11:11:00 by pastorshark Reply
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  • And again…defend, defend…boom, try!

  • Comment 20, posted at 14.07.18 11:13:24 by pastorshark Reply
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  • And 50 up…these guys are awesome in the true sense of the word!

  • Comment 21, posted at 14.07.18 11:16:19 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Final score: 54-17…

  • Comment 22, posted at 14.07.18 11:17:10 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 17) : embarrassing just today!?!?!? They’re even worse than Sharks!!!

  • Comment 23, posted at 14.07.18 11:42:24 by JD Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 10) : bit of ginger brandy…… ok a lot of ginger brandy will sort that flu! :lol:
    Hope you feel better soon and still have a couple of healthy days left in your holiday!

  • Comment 24, posted at 14.07.18 11:47:38 by JD Reply
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  • Well, the Brumbies are playing well at the tail end of the season. Too late to get to the knockouts, but they are 21-3 up against the Tahs…

  • Comment 25, posted at 14.07.18 12:08:16 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 24) : Mmm…ginger brandy… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 26, posted at 14.07.18 12:08:56 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 23) : Surely not that bad…at least they can beat the Aussies! The Sharks just can’t get that right!!

  • Comment 27, posted at 14.07.18 12:11:08 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 1) : it gives us one more week of hope…which is all we had this year anyway,hope! If we make the play-offs,there should be some financial benefits, so I’ll take that. Every little bit helps

  • Comment 28, posted at 14.07.18 12:17:13 by HeinF Reply

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  • @pastorshark (Comment 6) : that is exactly what the hosts said on the NZ rugby show, can’t remember the name. They said they would be very happy not to see the sharks tour there for the knock-outs

  • Comment 29, posted at 14.07.18 12:19:02 by HeinF Reply

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  • @pastorshark (Comment 11) : must say Anderson has been amazing this week! Beating RF after losing the first 2 sets (and match point down in the 3rd)…….. wow that was a super performance! Then to step up and keep going mentally and physically to outlast his friend in a 6 hour 36 min (99 games, 569 points!!!) thriller!!! WOW!!! Truly amazing!!! Go Mr Anderson Go!!!

  • Comment 30, posted at 14.07.18 12:23:02 by JD Reply
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  • Brumbies doing the Lions a favour so far…they lead 10-26 at half time and if they win they open the door for the Lions to claim second place with a win against the Bulls…

  • Comment 31, posted at 14.07.18 12:33:40 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 30) : Incredible stuff…

  • Comment 32, posted at 14.07.18 12:35:52 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @HeinF (Comment 29) : It is true…but recent history says either:
    a) We’ll disappoint and lose a game we should have won today; OR
    b) We’ll play brilliantly and win today, but won’t be able to string two decent performances in a row together…and get thumped by the Saders…
    Anyway, let’s see…

  • Comment 33, posted at 14.07.18 12:38:36 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 33) : true,but we are sharks supporters…we ignore history and believe our team can beat any team, anywhere…only to be disappointed about 50% of the time…

  • Comment 34, posted at 14.07.18 12:41:02 by HeinF Reply

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  • Of course! And we’ll keep doing it!! :mrgreen:
    And every now and then they make it truly worth it…

  • Comment 35, posted at 14.07.18 12:56:17 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Brumbies still in Lions assist mode…10-33…

  • Comment 36, posted at 14.07.18 12:57:12 by pastorshark Reply
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  • And as I write that, the Tahs strike back! 17-33 And still 27 minutes to go…

  • Comment 37, posted at 14.07.18 12:58:44 by pastorshark Reply
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  • After prolonged Brumbies pressure the Tabs score an intercept try to give them some real hope. Even a bonus point will mean the Lions need a bonus point win to get 2nd…

  • Comment 38, posted at 14.07.18 13:23:12 by pastorshark Reply
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  • 24-33 with 6 minutes to go…

  • Comment 39, posted at 14.07.18 13:23:44 by pastorshark Reply
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  • The Brumbies put that thought to bed with a brilliant try!!
    24-40 with 3 minutes to go…
    Good night nurse…

  • Comment 40, posted at 14.07.18 13:26:09 by pastorshark Reply
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  • So now the Lions have everything to play for against the Bulls. Second place up for grabs…

  • Comment 41, posted at 14.07.18 13:29:02 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Tash still score on the shooter, but it’s too little too late…
    31-40 is the final score…

  • Comment 42, posted at 14.07.18 13:30:05 by pastorshark Reply
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  • If the Lions beat the Bulls, the Sharks will need to keep an important lesson from the Highlanders game this morning in mind. Never ever underestimate a second string team playing in game where the results will have no impact on their place in the qualifiers.

  • Comment 43, posted at 14.07.18 13:37:47 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 43) : Yes please…

  • Comment 44, posted at 14.07.18 13:51:14 by pastorshark Reply
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  • I think even if we do show up today and win through we don’t have the consistency to last a week beyond that. I’ve resigned myself to a lost series.

  • Comment 45, posted at 14.07.18 14:01:11 by coolfusion Reply

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  • The Craven Week final has just started. Wow, the field is a complete mud bath!!

  • Comment 46, posted at 14.07.18 14:04:04 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Try awarded to Province by the ref, but it was clearly not grounded…

  • Comment 47, posted at 14.07.18 14:07:19 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Just as the conversion is about to be taken, the ref goes up for the TMO…no try…great work by the Sharks flyhalf…

  • Comment 48, posted at 14.07.18 14:08:48 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Begs the question on what basis the ref awarded the try in the first place…

  • Comment 49, posted at 14.07.18 14:10:09 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Great defence by the Sharks…

  • Comment 50, posted at 14.07.18 14:10:56 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Try to Province…have to get lower at maul time…7-0…

  • Comment 51, posted at 14.07.18 14:13:18 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Too much sport to watch… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 52, posted at 14.07.18 14:15:37 by pastorshark Reply
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  • 14-0…Province playing well in atrocious conditions…

  • Comment 53, posted at 14.07.18 14:16:58 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 52) : Remember that comment come November

  • Comment 54, posted at 14.07.18 14:18:55 by coolfusion Reply

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  • Unbelievable field conditions…

  • Comment 55, posted at 14.07.18 14:23:32 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @coolfusion (Comment 54) : :mrgreen: just mean I am flicking through 4 channels right now…

  • Comment 56, posted at 14.07.18 14:24:31 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Great Sharks try makes it 14-5…

  • Comment 57, posted at 14.07.18 14:30:51 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 53) : How big are those province boys. Geez looks like we have an u16 team playing a vodacom cup side

  • Comment 58, posted at 14.07.18 14:30:58 by jdolivier Reply

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  • Sharks running it in these conditions…Wow…

  • Comment 59, posted at 14.07.18 14:31:45 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @jdolivier (Comment 58) : Yes… :shock:

  • Comment 60, posted at 14.07.18 14:32:10 by pastorshark Reply
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  • The conditions really favouring the home side, but the Sharkies running bravely…14-8 Just short of halftime…

  • Comment 61, posted at 14.07.18 14:37:42 by pastorshark Reply
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  • 14-8 halftime…

  • Comment 62, posted at 14.07.18 14:39:45 by pastorshark Reply
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  • 21-8…

  • Comment 63, posted at 14.07.18 15:01:05 by pastorshark Reply
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  • 40-8…The Province boys just too strong…

  • Comment 64, posted at 14.07.18 15:15:19 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Bulls lead the Lions 0-7…

  • Comment 65, posted at 14.07.18 15:16:35 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Another brilliant try by the Bulls after turnover ball…

  • Comment 66, posted at 14.07.18 15:17:38 by pastorshark Reply
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  • 0-12 after 13 minutes…oooh, and the Bulls almost score AGAIN!

  • Comment 67, posted at 14.07.18 15:19:33 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Lions strike back through Combrinck…7-12…

  • Comment 68, posted at 14.07.18 15:24:25 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 68) : Bulls definitely showed up. Hope they have a second half game.

  • Comment 69, posted at 14.07.18 15:25:15 by coolfusion Reply

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  • I wish we could poacu RG snyman

  • Comment 70, posted at 14.07.18 15:26:19 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 70) : Poach even.

  • Comment 71, posted at 14.07.18 15:26:36 by coolfusion Reply

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  • 12-12 now…Bulls just got a yellow card…

  • Comment 72, posted at 14.07.18 15:42:42 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @coolfusion (Comment 71) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 73, posted at 14.07.18 15:49:54 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Lions score after the shooter and it is 19-12 at halftime.

  • Comment 74, posted at 14.07.18 15:52:26 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Game a oose mess now. Who will add structure?

  • Comment 75, posted at 14.07.18 16:10:38 by coolfusion Reply

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  • Still 19-12 after 51 minutes…

  • Comment 76, posted at 14.07.18 16:18:41 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Lions should consider taking some penalties to posts now and then

  • Comment 77, posted at 14.07.18 16:20:21 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 77) : Yes…

  • Comment 78, posted at 14.07.18 16:33:17 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Lions up 26-12 So it looks like they have second spot sewn up…

  • Comment 79, posted at 14.07.18 16:36:00 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Lions 31-12 on the shooter. Second on the log sewn up. Well done…

  • Comment 80, posted at 14.07.18 16:56:22 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Wonder who Rassie will look at to replace Nkosi for the RC – Combrink perhaps?

  • Comment 81, posted at 14.07.18 16:58:13 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • That was a high arm. Before the try.

  • Comment 82, posted at 14.07.18 17:59:53 by coolfusion Reply

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