Sharks scrum to Mbombela victory

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 7 Aug 2016 at 00:22
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

A dominant display by the Sharks’ Super Rugby-strength pack – particularly in the scrums – laid the platform for a 33-10 victory over the Pumas their opening game on Friday night. The Durban side scored five tries (to one by their hosts) to take maximum log points from the fixture.

Just last year, a underdone and uninspiring Sharks team lost their opening fixture at the same venue, but this time around, Robert du Preez’s charges set about their task with determination and discipline and very quickly established physical dominance at the point of contact. Rugby can be a deceptively simple game when you get the basics right and by combining rock-solid defence with virtually flawless set piece execution, the Sharks ensured a platform on which to build a solid victory.

The Pumas struck early, through a Francois Brummer penalty, but it was the Sharks who opened the try scoring in the 13th minute, with the opening five-pointer going to hooker Franco Marais (his first at this level) from a textbook lineout drive. Young Curwin Bosch, who had missed an earlier penalty attempt, converted to put visitors ahead 7-3. The lead was extended further five minutes later, with a strong Sharks scrum creating space for Philip van der Walt down the left. The number 8 – impressive in all he did on the day – fed a flying Odwa Ndungane for the second score, with Bosch making it 14-3.

That scrum was a thing of beauty and set the tone for the rest of the game, with Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse and Thomas du Toit taking it in turns to terrorise and humiliate their Puma front-row opponents. Four balls were won cleanly against the head in 80 minutes, while the Sharks repeatedly walked the Pumas scrum back on their own ball.

The solitary Puma try came ten minutes before the break; the Sharks appeared to have a Puma chip kick well covered, but for Curwin Bosch instinctively tackling the would-be collector before he caught the ball. The result was a rare penalty inside the Sharks’ 22, with hooker Frankie Herne scoring off the back of the ensuing lineout drive. At 10-14 as the halftime whistle blew, the game was in the balance, despite the Sharks clear dominance in most areas of play.

The introduction of Inny-Christian Radebe at flyhalf in the second half added a bit more direction to the Sharks’ backline play – since one felt they’d been attempting to hide Bosch a little in the opening period. The 19-year-old moved to fullback, with Ndungane going off and as 21-year-old Radebe injected pace and confidence on the front foot, so Sharks’ attacking game began to take shape. The third try, scored 10 minutes into the half, was the best of the game. Michael Claassens found Radebe with a tiny bit of space on the left hand side. The flyhalf’s draw and pass was enough to send the galloping van der Walt into a gap. Having made a few yards, he in turn found Andre Esterhuizen, who passed back infield to Radebe again, who offloaded to Keegan Daniel. Daniel found Claassens, with Etienne Oosthuizen on hand to take the offload as the scrumhalf was tackled in the 22. A quick ball was recycled to Daniel again, who fed Bosch down the right. S’bura Sithole found himself on the end of a lovely pass and used his strength to power over form 10 metres out for a team try in every sense of the word. Bosch converted and at 21-10 up, the Sharks were now well in control.

The bonus point try went to Ruan Botha in the 66th minute, the beast of a lock driving over form short range after Chiliboy Ralepelle had been stopped inches away after a lineout drive. Esterhuizen scored the fifth ten minutes from time, sprinting in on the left after another powerful Sharks scrum had created the necessary front-foot ball.

All-in-all, a highly satisfying first outing for Robert du Preez’s team, although any thought of celebration will be tempered by the knowledge that there are far sterner challenges ahead in this competition.

Steval Pumas (10) – Try: Frankie Herne; Conversion: Francois Brummer; Penalty: Brummer.

Cell C Sharks (33) – Tries: Franco Marais, Odwa Ndungane, Sibusiso Sithole, Ruan Botha, Andre Esterhuizen; Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4).


  • Ja was nice to see the Sharks perform so well!!!

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.08.16 01:02:18 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • Good and positive news! I’ll take it!!

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.08.16 06:02:48 by Sharkfinn Reply

  • The other teams the weekend looked really weak , WP is looking like whiping boys same with cheetahs and boland the bulls look like they might give us a little go but i dont know i think we might have a very good shot at the title , this might also be a more bias and from the hart view then logic and brain but who cares well done boys and nice start to bringing that Cup home

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.08.16 07:27:41 by John Reply

  • Very pleasing on the eye. Question needs to be asked as to why Robert Du Preez was not the SR coach.

    The most enjoyable aspect of the game was Esterhuizen’s performance. This was more in line with his potential.

    Long may the Sharks continue in this vein.

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.08.16 08:06:16 by Bayshark Reply

  • Off topic but what is the status of pats concussion? I see he is excluded from the springbok squad as injured yet there there was talk of including him for the quarters.

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.08.16 08:19:22 by byron Reply

  • @byron (Comment 5) : there was a article on news24 that state he is still showing signs so he cant start to train cant find the link now , but after 2 months to still have signs is pretty rough

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.08.16 08:33:13 by John Reply

  • Does anyone have a link to highlights of the game?

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.08.16 09:13:36 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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  • @John (Comment 6) : Jip, as mentioned in the article, might be worse than we think. Luckily sanity prevails and no one is rushing anything. Good luck Pat.

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.08.16 09:31:41 by catfish Reply
  • @catfish (Comment 8) : yes… some seriously concerning articles on the web about Pat’s injury.

    I just hope he recovers and comes back even better and stronger

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.08.16 10:00:51 by SharksRTB Reply

  • How good was Inny when he came on….really really hoping to see Du Preez giving him a start for next week, with Bosch at fullback.

    Also the young wing (Maritz?) showed some great energy and was really impressive.

    Encouraging to see our youngster stepping up, and the seniors leading the way….good stuff should come from this.

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.08.16 11:53:41 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Claasens was again poor and killed our momentum in the first half. Ungerer was actually much better. SH is becoming an area of concern. Maybe time to give the under 21 SH or impi SH a chance. Senior 9 has become complacent.

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.08.16 12:58:19 by sudhir Reply

  • Sad to admit but Beast was not missed neither in thee front row or in the captaincy.
    Yet he and Swazi are our only 2 Boks

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.08.16 13:28:47 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • @sudhir (Comment 11) :
    Classens has not been great for a few months now. Ungerer was not living up to his potential until making some strides in his last few games – a real relief.

    I think some of the shape we lost on attack in the first half was simply due to the poor direction at 9.

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.08.16 14:11:00 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @The hound (Comment 12) : That’s depressing!

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.08.16 19:03:25 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
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    Spirit of Rugby
  • @Spirit of Rugby (Comment 14) : The fact that we only have two boks or that we didnt miss them? The former is just the outward manefestation of stagnation and attrition. The fact that we didn’t miss them however, is a good thing. It means we have very capable backup.

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.08.16 06:56:51 by coolfusion Reply

  • So much to be enthused about in this game! Admittedly, this was the first game of the season, and not the sternest opposition we’ll face, but still…

    For starters, I thought the young ‘uns in the team did really well. While Curwin Bosch looker better at 15, there’s no doubting that the kid is a prodigious talent, and we need to hang onto him at all costs. Also very happy that the so-called defensive frailty didn’t really materialise in any meaningful manner.

    Inny Radebe looked so comfortable as a playmaker; it appeared as if he’s been playing at this level for ages. I really hope he can stay injury free and build on this.

    That Esterhuizen/Am partnership also has the look of something that could develop into quite a formidable combo. With the signing of Ward, the previously problematic outside center berth could very well become one of our strong points. Now we need to focus on building some depth at 12.

    I also really enjoyed the way Neil Maritz approached the game; constantly coming off the wing looking for work. I actually felt disappointed that he did not get onto the score sheet; it would have been well deserved.

    I know there has been some reservations with Keegan Daniel’s appointment as captain, with some feeling we need to start building for the future. Personally, I thought it was an inspired choice; they guy is a Shark through and through, and leads by example as far as playing a dynamic, fast-paced game is concerned. The amount of times he touched the ball in a playmaking capacity is (for a flank) quite staggering.

    Whatever we paid the ginger ninja, it was worth it!

    There’s actually a lot more I could gush about, but I don’t have all day. To me, there were only three negatives in the game:
    1) Claassen’s downward spiral in form, and 2) Sbura Sithole; while his physical prowess and dedication is beyond doubt, the guy has two left feet for hands, and will seriously have to improve, and 3) Stephan Lewies moustache. Seriously dude, just get rid of it already

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.08.16 07:41:04 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Culling Song (Comment 16) : Re: the ‘stache – you can take the man out of Pretoria, but you can never take Pretoria out of the man. 🙂

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.08.16 07:54:56 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 17) : The ‘stache is to Lewies as the mullet is to Bresler 🙂

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.08.16 08:37:23 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @Culling Song (Comment 16) : Agree, although the Pumas might not be the strongest in the comp, they are also not the weakest. Think this will be a great confidence booster going forward. The Bulls also looked dangerous in the first round and perhaps took the foot of the defensive accelerator towards the end. Scrums were great and how was that hand off from the ginger ninja to set Odwa up.

    Perhaps the future is not all gloom and doom if you look at all the young talent coming thru. Hope our age group guys will also have a good season.

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.08.16 08:39:30 by Farlington Reply

  • Some very pleasing aspects to take from the game on Friday. It was by no means a great performance but there were a lot of good patches to build on. I thought the forwards in general were good and the more that unit can play together the better they will get in terms of cohesion and understanding. I was a bit unsure of the first half backline and they too seemed a bit unsure. When Bosch moved to fullback (his best position) and Radebe came on at 10 with Ungerer at 9 the backline looked full of running and at speed. Radebe made a huge impact and i just wonder how the returning April will be handled as for me April should start at 15 with Radebe at 10. I think Esterhuizen/Am combo can really turn into something good. And why on earth have the Sharks wasted time with Sithole who cant catch a cold when there is a quality and hungry player like Maritz in the system. Hope DuPreez backs the boys that actually look like they want to play with some desire and hunger

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.08.16 08:49:18 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 20) : Sbu seems to be in some sort of mental rut. He’s a better player than this but his confidence might be shot at this point.

  • Comment 21, posted at 08.08.16 08:53:59 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @KingRiaan (Comment 18) : Our locks and their 80’s fashion sense – maybe it has a “Samson” effect on them…shave it, and all their power disappears.

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.08.16 09:01:37 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Great win by the Sharks – beating the Pumas away in that fashion was very impressive. Having watched the other games, there is no reason to believe we should not win this thing.

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.08.16 09:17:41 by Vonno13 Reply
  • @The hound (Comment 12) : How Mvovo is a Bok is beyond me, he has been shocking this year and should not be there.

  • Comment 24, posted at 08.08.16 09:19:25 by Vonno13 Reply
  • @coolfusion (Comment 15) : Depressing that probably our two most out of form players are in the Bok squad.

  • Comment 25, posted at 08.08.16 09:23:09 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 17) : Ja, it’s not called Snor City for nothing.

  • Comment 26, posted at 08.08.16 09:24:48 by Spirit of Rugby Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 21) : I would like to think he is a better player but ive seen too many of the jittery cant catch performances in recent times than any good performances. Maritz impressed me a lot more than Sithole, Mvovo and even JPP have this year

  • Comment 27, posted at 08.08.16 10:18:12 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Culling Song (Comment 16) :
    Great summation.

    @SheldonK (Comment 27) :
    Slow your roll there cowboy. It was just his first CC game.

  • Comment 28, posted at 08.08.16 10:24:50 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 28) : That was kinda my point- he showed more in 1 game that those 3 have all year. Hope it continues…nice to see someone in a Sharks jersey actually play with some passion

  • Comment 29, posted at 08.08.16 10:49:26 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 27) : I don’t feel particularly comfortable suggesting this but maybe a fresh start at another union would do him good.

  • Comment 30, posted at 08.08.16 10:50:27 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @SheldonK (Comment 29) :
    I thought he had an industrious game (even if a bit too individualistic) but we’ve all seen the movie about the freshman killing it in his debut only to disappear under the lights. I hope he steps on though.

    We will definitely miss JP and Mvovo, make no mistake.

  • Comment 31, posted at 08.08.16 11:04:58 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @vanmartin (Comment 30) : Well that is my feeling too. He has been at the Sharks for quite a while now and under various coaches and can we honestly say he is a better player now than when he first started. Perhaps a change and new approach is whats needed

  • Comment 32, posted at 08.08.16 11:09:31 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Big Fish (Comment 31) : If my wings are individualistic i have zero problem with that…they not there to be play makers. I really do hope he continues to play well, there will be tougher tests ahead. JPP and Mvovo are quality players, but neither have played well in a while….perhaps its due to lack of competition for their places

  • Comment 33, posted at 08.08.16 11:11:16 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 33) :
    Yeah – wings are like strikers in that regard. But similarly, all is only forgiven if you are putting points on the board. Nobody forgives a wing running down a blind alley alone based on his ambition.

    I think the public is too hard on Lwazi and JP. They haven’t had the luxury of playing is expansive teams since Dick Muir, and recent seasons have seen a revolving door at all the backline positions inside them.

    Far too much stock is put in the opinions of Stormers24 and SARugby who have a vested interest in talking them down as players.

  • Comment 34, posted at 08.08.16 11:32:33 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 34) : I think you can be slightly sympathetic in regards to game plans and players inside them but at the end of the day the players need to take responsibility for their actions or lack thereof on the field. They are good players, they have proved that in the past. Unfortunately they cannot hide from the fact that neither have played well in a while…and neither are known for going looking for work on a field. Looking at probably 2015 and 2016…a guy like Skosan can feel a bit hard done by that Mvovo is selected ahead of him.

  • Comment 35, posted at 08.08.16 11:43:15 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 35) : That looking for work is something NM showed on Friday. Must say I enjoyed seeing that, it will make him unpredictable when the backline really starts to click. I really hope he can continue the way he started on Friday.

  • Comment 36, posted at 08.08.16 12:08:37 by Farlington Reply

  • @Farlington (Comment 36) : Its all about creating options. Most defenses are pretty well organised so in order to unlock them the attacking team needs to provide options for each ball carrier so that its not predictable. Id like to see someone like Mjekevu come onto the other wing as he seemed to look for work when playing for the Kings. And if you have them and Bosch at 15 roaming off big players like Esterhuizen and Am then our attack will start to really have some bite.

  • Comment 37, posted at 08.08.16 12:22:25 by SheldonK Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 30) : If he doesn’t come good this Currie Cup season, I believe that will be his only option. It would be a pity, because I’ve always liked him. Then again, that could just be because my handling was never good enough to make it past the second team in small rural schools where just finding enough players for a second team was challenge enough, so seeing someone else with my skills deficiencies having a shot at the big time allows me to live vicariously through him. Or something like that.

  • Comment 38, posted at 08.08.16 12:46:55 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Culling Song (Comment 38) : hahaha are you perhaps hinting that you should be signed 😉

  • Comment 39, posted at 08.08.16 12:56:40 by SheldonK Reply


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