Cell C Sharks go two from two – Featured Durban Blog

Cell C Sharks go two from two:

The Cell C Sharks maintained unbeaten status in the competition, following up the Sunwolves win in week one with a 26-7 Vodacom Super Rugby victory over the visiting Blues in typically intense Durban weather at Jonsson KINGS PARK.

The home side were simply too good for the Blues, running out four tries to one bonus point victors against the tourists who were pressured and harried and then wilted in the heat against a side intent on winning at home.

A four try to one Vodacom Super Rugby defeat is a rare pleasure against New Zealand sides, but the Cell C Sharks managed to maintain our stranglehold over the Blues with a hard-fought, but ultimately deserved victory.

The opening 10 minutes belonged to the Cell C Sharks as we pressured the Blues in their half. The moment the visitors had an opportunity to get out of their half, an overthrown lineout was poached by Akker van der Merwe who set up what would be a try-scoring attack on the halfway line, with the backs combining perfectly for Aphelele Fassi to finish off a sweeping move and the opening try of the game.

A second lineout fail for the Blues saw Hyron Andrews poaching the ball and from the resultant attack, the ball was taken deep into Blues territory. They conceded a number of penalties, kicked to the corner. A trademark forward drive saw van der Merwe repeat his exploits of last week to drive over for the second try inside the opening quarter. Robert du Preez converted for a 12-nil lead.

The Blues continued to remain on the back foot and although there was one short period when they managed to put an attacking move together in our half, it came to nothing. The debilitating heat and humidity was clearly having an effect on the New Zealanders who were simply making too many mistakes for the polish expected of a Kiwi side.

We sadly lost the services of the dangerous Sbu Nkosi in a tackle around the half hour mark which heralded the first appearance of Curwin Bosch in Vodacom Super Rugby after missing last week’s game with a shoulder niggle.

The Blues conceded a third try just before half time after conceding a penalty for a dangerous neck roll which was kicked to the corner. Although the forwards – and a few backs – couldn’t score from the driving maul, although they came close, the ball was sent out to the backline with Robert du Preez jinxing his way under the uprights. His conversion gave us a well-deserved 19-0 lead.

There were a few anxious moments to negotiate as the Blues took the attack from their own 22 and then sent a penalty to our 22 but somehow contrived to lose the ball which killed off their last opportunity to put points on the board before the end of the half, one that was almost completely dominated by the Cell C Sharks.

The second half started where the first left off, although a couple of chances sadly didn’t go all the way, but still the Blues battled in the conditions. It was to take a trademark Sonny Bill Williams offload in the tackle to set up what looked to be the first Blues score, just short of an hour into the game but the TMO ruling was for a forward pass in the build-up and they were to remain scoreless.

Although we showed great resilience on defence in holding them out for so long, the Blues finally managed a patient, if not frustrated build-up before swinging the ball out wide after the forwards had had no joy trying to break through and with the conversion, took the score to 19-7 with just over 15 minutes remaining.

With the game slipping from their grasp, the Blues looked to somehow inject extra energy into their attack and attempt to wrestle the game away from the Cell C Sharks who had been in command all match. It was a tense finale to what had been a brutally physical clash between worthy foes.

But it would be Curwin Bosch who would absolutely knock the wind from their sales. Earlier Jeremy Ward had flattened the Blues flyhalf in a monster tackle and that rush defence paid off as the Blues had a scrum on our 22, but under pressure on attack, the ball was snatched up by Bosch who raced to the tryline for the fourth try and seal the game. The conversion pushed the lead to 26-7 and with it, the win.

The Cell C Sharks have now earned maximum log points from our first two matches and host the Stormers next Saturday.

The post Cell C Sharks go two from two appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

Continuity is Key:

The Cell C Sharks get our home campaign of the 2019 Vodacom Super Rugby competition off to a challenging start when we host the Blues at JONSSON KINGS PARK this Saturday.

The starting line-up to take on the New Zealand side remains unchanged from last week’s team selected to play the Sunwolves in a piece of good fortune for the Cell C Sharks – after all, continuity in playing personnel is the key to success – while this match sees the return of Thomas du Toit, in for Khutha Mchunu and Curwin Bosch for Rhyno Smith, both changes effected on the bench.

“We were very happy with last week’s win against a quality side that will upset a few teams this year, but now we’re looking ahead to the Blues,” explains Cell C Sharks flyhalf Robert du Preez.

“We played some exciting rugby and some brutal rugby, especially the front row that laid the platform for the rest of the team and we were able to score some lovely tries thanks to the hard work from the forwards.”

Looking back at recent history, the Cell C Sharks had a very successful run against Kiwi teams last year and while that suggests that we won’t ever underestimate New Zealand opposition for obvious reasons, it’s important that the headspace of the team remains like that against all teams. It was clear that last week against the Sunwolves, there was no shortage of intent or focus.

“The opposition brings the best out of you, we knew these would be really big games, but we have to change our mindset around this – we can’t be up for a Kiwi game and not get up for an Aussie game.

“We will look to build on what we did last year, but this is a new year, they’re a new team and we expect a good battle out there on Saturday.”

Coming back to the term ‘continuity’, while the Blues offer a completely different challenge to what the Cell C Sharks had against the Sunwolves, this week it’s a case of ‘more of the same’ as far as the intensity and physicality the team delivered last week.

And they will acknowledge how close the Blues came to beating the Crusaders last week. Which all makes for a mouth-watering clash between the two sides.

The Cell C Sharks

1. Tendai Mtawarira
2. Akker van der Merwe
3. Coenie Oosthuizen
4. Hyron Andrews
5. Ruan Botha
6. Jacques Vermeulen
7. Tyler Paul
8. Daniel du Preez
9. Louis Schreuder (C)
10. Robert du Preez
11. Makazole Mapimpi
12. Andre Esterhuizen
13. Lukhanyo Am
14. Sbu Nkosi
15. Aphelele Fassi

Replacements

16. Kerron van Vuuren
17. Juan Schoeman
18. Thomas du Toit
19. Gideon Koegelenberg
20. Phepsi Buthelezi
21. Cameron Wright
22. Jeremy Ward
23. Curwin Bosch

 

 

The post Continuity is Key appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

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