Heroic Win – Featured Durban Blog

Heroic Win:

The Cell C Sharks bounced back from last week’s defeat with a wonderful 24-17 victory over the visiting Stormers at Jonsson KINGS PARK on Saturday in a tight Vodacom Super Rugby clash.
On a beautiful late summer evening, in a match played in perfect conditions, it couldn’t have been more tense, but ultimately the Cell C Sharks’ heroics were just too good.

It was something special. The intensity was there, as was the effort and as captain Ruan Botha said afterwards when he paid tribute to the fans who came out to support the team, that they fed off the crowd’s energy.

Having dominated possession and territory in the opening 20 minutes of play but being denied three times following some exciting attacking efforts, Robert du Preez converted a penalty after the Stormers had conceded yet another penalty.

The teams hammered away at each other and we continued to enjoy all the possession, the Stormers having one opportunity all half but being denied on our tryline. We continued to put pressure on them, only to concede possession in their half and from the breakout, had to suffer the deep disappointment of conceding the only try of the half, right before the whistle.

Despite being a low-scoring first 40 minutes, the action had been intense, both sides throwing everything at each other, and the Stormers enjoying an unexpected 5-3 half-time lead.

Head coach Robert du Preez had warned that the team who started well first would pressure the opposition and the second half couldn’t have had a better beginning, with Lukhanyo Am scoring after a minute and a half to push us into a 10-7 lead.
With half and hour of this enthralling match remaining, the Stormers kicked a penalty to level matters and then under pressure in their 22, stole an intercept pass, hacked the ball upfield before regaining possession to recycle the ball into a long distance try in the corner.
The game had ignited and we nearly added a second try, Nkosi denied by the TMO, but we were back on attack. The Stormers lost a man to a yellow card for a cynical act of play but managed to stave off our advantage.

But not for long as the Stormers conceded another penalty and after the initial lineout drive, the ball was moved along the line with Robert du Preez breaking the line before feeding his brother Jean-Luc who dived over under the posts for the easy, score-equalling conversion.
The third try was a thing of beauty, the forwards needing to take a bow for a scrum penalty then combining beautifully, Philip van der Walt, then Akker van der Merwe, Hyron Andrews and finally Man of the Match Thomas du Toit who crashed over.

With six minutes left, the result was not yet final, but certainly we held a well-deserved lead. The Stormers, sensing that a score was still possible in search of a draw hammered away at our line, but time after time were repelled before finally conceding possession a few minutes into extra time.

There was jubilation afterwards and rightly so.

Cell C Sharks Captain Ruan Botha said, “The difference from last week was that were more clinical with ball in hand. This competition isn’t easy, but we’ll enjoy the bye and then take it game by game.”


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