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by Baylion

Venientes, viderent, victi

September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

They came, they saw, they were conquered.

Once again the Sharks found the Sharks nets at the Coke Tin intact. Six times since April 2010 the Sharks came to do battle in Joburg, often as overwhelming favourites, and six times they have been repulsed and to make matters worse, their two junior sides also suffered close losses on Saturday.

No treats for them at the Shark Tank this week. :)

In what was the most entertaining match of the weekend the Sharks tried their best to turn around their recent record on the Highveldt and were well positioned at half time having scored after the hooter had gone but a second half turnaround by the Lions meant that the Sharks once again lost at Ellis Park.

The Sharks dominated possession and territory during the first half and only resolute defence by the Lions and Elton Jantjies’s boot kept the score managable at half time. Trailing 6-16 at halftime the Lions took the second half 22-6 to close out the match.

The match had it’s moments of magic and it had it’s moments of madness.

Keegan Daniel made some telling runs for the Sharks as did Cobus Reinach while Andries Coetzee continued his great form for the Lions and bit of magic set up Ruan Combrinck’s try and Jaco Kriel outsprinted everone for a good try.

A moment of madness by the Sharks cost them when Keegan Daniel protested a perceived knockon and they virtually stopped playing. The ref waved the game on and Coetzee put Combrinck away for a try. An extended TMO break resulted in the try being awarded as the TMO felt there wasn’t clear evidence of a knockon, much to the disgust of Daniel & Co.

Afterwards Lions coach Johann Ackerman said that a different camera angle, available in the coaches box, showed it definitively wasn’t a knockon. Surely all camera feeds should be available to the TMO?

Some storming runs by Jaco Taute and great play by ELton Jantjies resulted in them being called up to the Bok squad but a few other players are putting up their hands for recognition as well. Andries Coetzee continues to perform, Lionel Mapoe keeps improving and the Sharks’ Cobus Reinach is building on some good performances and I wouldn’t be surprised if they get a call for the EOYT, even if only as part of an extended group.

Next weekend: WP awaits the Lions at Newlands and the Lions need to work on two issues if they want to win – better possession and breaking through the WP defence.

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by Baylion

Golden Lions vs Sharks – Crunch time!

September 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

It was way back in April, April 2010 that is, that the Sharks have last tasted victory at the Coke Tin and they would want to change their fortunes on Saturday, especially now that they have some of their un- or under-utilised Boks, Lwazi Mvovo and Craig Burden, back in the mix.

Captain Courageous retires

The Sharks are making the trek up to the Highveldt with a very strong starting XV where the only real weakness is in the front row. While they are still without Steyn, Lambie and JP Pietersen their backline is still on par with most full strength backlines in the country.

In the Lions camp Captain Courageous, Wikus van Heerden, will be retiring from rugby and it would have been great if the Lions could have accommodated him for a few minutes on the field to allow him to gain his 100th Currie Cup cap for the Lions. Wikus effectively played his last match for the Lions in the Currie Cup final against the Sharks last year after being injured withing the first quarter of the Round 1 Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs.

The Lions made only one change to the team replacing injured Hendrik Roodt with Michael Rhodes but a number of players have been bracketed so it seems there are doubts about Alwyn Hollenbach and Michael Rhodes.

We can expect another strong showing by the Lions in scrums but the halfback pair of Bondesio and Jantjies will hope to get more than 30% ball from their forwards so that they can give more opportunities for the Lions’ danger men at the back, Lionel Mapoe, Ruan Combrinck, Andries Coetzee and Deon Helberg.

Offload by Lionel Mapoe

Since being dropped from the Bok squad Jantjies is playing like a man on a mission and to such an extent that he has converted a number of his biggest critics at SharksWorld (“Those who question his quality are idiots”). Another good performance by SA’s best flyhalf will really test Heyneke Meyer’s resolve in not giving him his Bok opportunity.

There is no doubt that the Lions have the players to beat the Sharks but they really need to sort out their possession problems. Last week’s game against the Cheetahs could easily have gone the other way but for the Lions resolute defence. Against the Sharks, a side with a much better defence than the Cheetahs, lack of possession could just cost them their top of the log spot.

I think we can look forward to a hard fought but entertaining game with both sides very capable of running in tries.

I will stick with history and go with the Lions by 9.

Golden Lions:

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach/Jaco Taute, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Willie Britz, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Michael Rhodes/Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain)

Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen/Ruan Botha, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Butch James, 22 Jaco Taute/Dylan Des Fountain.

Sharks:

15. Louis Ludik, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Tim Whitehead, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Riaan Viljoen, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Keegan Daniel (Capt), 7. Jean Deysel , 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Anton Bresler, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Dale Chadwick

Replacements
16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Brynard Stander, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Paul Jordaan, 22 Sibusiso Sithole