Under 21s the pride of the Tank

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 29 Sep 2015 at 09:40
Tagged with : , , , ,

Michael Horak and AB Zondagh added another big notch to their bedposts this last weekend, with their Sharks under 21 side recording a bonus-point 29-23 win over the Blue Bulls at Kings Park. With the Sharks boys hurting after a last-gasp try denied them a win over these foes at Loftus earlier in the year, Marius Louw scored a late try this week to sew up the victory and also propel the Sharks to third on the tournament log.

Marquit September opened the scoring for the visitors after just 14 minutes, with Sharks winger Neil Maritz pulling his team back to 5-all 10 minutes later. The Bulls asserted further dominance as the half wore on, with big prop Dayan van der Westhuizen barrelling over for their second. Josh Stander made up for two missed conversions with a late penalty to see the visitors lead 13-5 at the break.

Inny-Christian Radebe knocked over a penalty early in the second half to reduce the deficit, before Maritz scored again, this time under the sticks. Radebe’s conversion saw the Sharks now two points ahead, 15-13 with half an hour to go. A further Bulls score made that joy short-lived, but it was the Sharks who finished stronger, with first number 8 Ayron Schramm and then captain Louw scoring tries to secure not only the win, but also the bonus point. A late penalty to the Bulls secured a losing bonus point, but the Sharks’ 6-point lead held firm in the end.

With a game in hand over the second-placed Cheetahs (and a big match against these foes in the final round), the Sharks under 21 side are still in with an outside chance of hosting a semifinal. With wins in the bag against Western Province, the Lions and now the Blue Bulls already this season, this young team appears to be peaking at the right time and will back themselves to go all the way in a year when good news out of Durban is a rare commodity.

Sharks 29 (5). Tries: Ayron Schramm, Marius Louw, Neil Maritz (2). Conversions: Inny-Christian Radebe (3). Penalty: Radebe.
Blue Bulls 23 (13). Tries: Dayan van der Westhuizen, Jsuanre Swanepoel, Marquit September. Conversion: Joshua Stander. Penalties: Stander(2).


  • Rob, can you clatify Horak and Zondagh’s roles? Who would be considered head coach for instance?

  • Comment 1, posted at 29.09.15 09:46:28 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 1) : *clarify

  • Comment 2, posted at 29.09.15 09:46:48 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Great result. Just wondering how many of these guys are no longer u21 next year? Just trying to gauge who is a ‘senior’ in terms of age year next or who is still in their development for lack of a better term

  • Comment 3, posted at 29.09.15 10:13:03 by SheldonK Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 2) : Horak is head coach, Zondagh is his assistant

  • Comment 4, posted at 29.09.15 10:13:07 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @SheldonK (Comment 3) : This is a very young side. Majola, Du Plessis, Kramer, Du Toit, Andrews, Geldenhuys, Marais, Schramm, Gouws, Radebe, Louw all still u20 and could still play u21 next year.

  • Comment 5, posted at 29.09.15 10:17:27 by Vonno13 Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Thanks!

  • Comment 6, posted at 29.09.15 10:22:57 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Getting to the stage where it’s unclear whether their chances of winning the comp would be strengthened by the U21 players from the senior side (and potentially the better u19s) or whether disrupting a settled unit would be dangerous…

  • Comment 7, posted at 29.09.15 10:32:25 by JR Reply

  • @Vonno13 (Comment 5) : I had the idea that it was a young side so good on them. We def need to retain them all and let them play u21 again next year. Spell out their development plan to all of them. Kids these days want instant stardom after a good couple games so they need to be kept grounded

  • Comment 8, posted at 29.09.15 10:36:45 by SheldonK Reply

  • This was a great win this was against the Bulls. This Sharks u21 team has been the saving grace of what would otherwise have been very depressing trips to Kings Park.

    Lots of character has been shown by this team this season. Having a solid pack of forwards who are able to stand their ground again anyone in this compo with a smart, competent halfback combo has been key. I can’t say enough about the team’s defence as well – it’s top notch. The players are organised and committed to the nth degree. This allows them to absorb loads of pressure. There is also a huge self-belief and like any good team they can virtually call on any of their regulars to step up and provide the match changing performances be it as starter or off the bench. During this game against the Bulls I thought some of those who don’t often get the limelight were standouts: Riaan o’Neill and Sipho Mkhize who were brill while back 3 partner Neil Maritz got the crucial finishes. My fav game of the lot was however the come from behind home win against the Lions. The Lions seemed to gradually be getting the upper hand as that game went on. The Sharks then turned to their bench and adjusted tactics as well. They started playing much tighter by driving the ball up near the fringes of the rucks. This changed the tide. The likes of Barend Potgieter and Ruan Kramer did outstanding work as replacements while Jean Droste also made a valuable contribution. My personal favs this season have been Inny Radebe and Graham Geldenhuys but hats off to all the players for the good performances and also to the coaches Michael Horak and AB Zondagh – their input has been valuable. Even though it’s quite a young Sharks u21 team in my opinion they have been one of the better junior teams the Sharks have fielded in this age group in the past 10 years or so.

  • Comment 9, posted at 29.09.15 10:40:45 by hashtag Reply

  • @JR (Comment 7) : Ja, it is a tricky situation. T Du Toit, A Esterhuizen and the twins would strengthen the squad, but how will that affect the unity of the side. The guys who have grafted their hearts out all season suddenly get the chop – it really is a hard decision to make.

  • Comment 10, posted at 29.09.15 10:48:45 by Vonno13 Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 8) : For sure, being kept grounded is important. Horak is doing a great job in this department, he works them blady hard and they are a fit side. I do however feel there are 4 players ready to move up

  • Comment 11, posted at 29.09.15 10:50:34 by Vonno13 Reply
  • @Vonno13 (Comment 11) : What should happen is this side should play together next year in the Vodacom Cup to create continuity and should a few guys be needed by the Super rugby side then fair enough but try keep as many playing together aain as possible. This is what the Bulls and WP have done so well over the last few years

  • Comment 12, posted at 29.09.15 10:57:03 by SheldonK Reply

  • This much is true! The Bulls side of 2015, hasn’t been that great though. The form u/21 sides have been the WP and Cheetahs. Cheetahs have scored 56 tries (by far the most, and conceded only 31. Sharks are likely to play the Cheetahs twice consecutively, unless the Sharks slip up against the Leopards.
    In the last round robin match, in Bloem, and the semi-final is also likely to be in Bloem.

  • Comment 13, posted at 29.09.15 11:10:11 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 12) : Agree with you 100%. But they, being the Sharks, are going to have to sort out their looking after of young players in terms of contracts, otherwise they are going to lose one or two of these players.

  • Comment 14, posted at 29.09.15 11:13:23 by Vonno13 Reply
  • @KingCheetah (Comment 13) : The Cheetahs have been brilliant this season, a real quality side to watch.

    No star names but they play as a unit and play a fantastic brand. Will be an interesting game in 2 weeks time. The Sharks left 3 tries on the field against the Bulls and as you said, the Bulls look a bit shoddy and far to heavy – their pack is simply too big and too slow.

  • Comment 15, posted at 29.09.15 11:15:33 by Vonno13 Reply
  • @Vonno13 (Comment 14) : 100%…put pen to paper

  • Comment 16, posted at 29.09.15 11:17:23 by SheldonK Reply

  • Nice to hear some good news coming out of the tank, well done u21’s

  • Comment 17, posted at 29.09.15 14:08:36 by stevovo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Well done guys! And isn’t interesting that Horak is the one working players hard, making a good input and achieving results. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

  • Comment 18, posted at 29.09.15 18:57:46 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @pastorshark (Comment 18) : certainly does. Especially in light of the comment above from hashtag that the team are well-drilled and organised on defence….

  • Comment 19, posted at 29.09.15 19:46:32 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : Absolutely…

  • Comment 20, posted at 29.09.15 19:56:52 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator

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