And then three were two …
The Sharks’ magnificent run continued in Cape Town on Saturday when they qualified for their fourth Super Rugby final by physically bullying a flat and one dimensional Stormers side that have played not to lose games, rather than go out and win them, this season. The Sharks are coming good at the best possible time, and have now won eight of their last nine matches, including an away quarter final in Brisbane …
The Sharks lost finals to the Blues in 1996, the Brumbies in 2001 and the Bulls in 2007, and will now have to do what has only been achieved once – win a final in another country. In 2000, the Crusaders travelled to Canberra where they beat the Brumbies by 20-19.
And only two teams have won finals away from home – the Crusaders did it in 1998 (against the Blues in Auckland) and 1999 (against the Highlanders in Dunedin), while the Bulls beat The Sharks in Durban in 2007, but in each of those matches, the final was played in the eventual winners’ home country.
It will be the first Super Rugby final in New Zealand since 2008 and the first ever hosted by the Chiefs … It’s a tough travel schedule, but the pressure will be in the home side. And by basing themselves in Sydney (where they arrived on Monday morning) the Sharks have embraced the travel and seem to be making the most of a tough situation …
News from the camp is that Tim Whitehead will miss the final due to a broken hand, but both Pat Lambie and Paul Jordaan passed fitness tests and have travelled with the team.
The final: Chiefs v The Sharks
Saturday, 4 August, 2012
Kick-off: 19h35 (local time), 09h35 (SA time)
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand
Referee: Steve Walsh (Aus)
Assistant Referees: Craig Joubert (SA), Keith Brown (NZ)
TMO: Garratt Williamson
And a look at the weekend’s rugby …
Super Rugby results:
Stormers 19 – 26 Sharks
Chiefs 20 – 17 Crusaders
Currie Cup 1st division results:
Griffons 10 – 34 Eastern Province
Valke 22 – 51 Leopards
SWD 21 – 21 Boland
Border 18 – 51 Pumas
Lions 28 – 36 Leopards
Western Province 23 – 35 Blue Bulls
Border 24 – 52 Sharks
Selected Club Rugby results:
WP: Victorians 35-25 Belhar, Durbanville-Bellville 26-35 Tygerberg, False Bay 14-37 UCT, Maties 45-7 Villager
EP: NMMU beat Progress 30-10 in Uitenhage to seal the 1st round league title
BORDER: Cambridge 13-18 Buffalo, Old Selbornians 16-0 Fort Hare, Breakers 8-29 East London Police
BLUE BULLS: Tukkies 64-3 TUT, Oostelike Eagles 63-19 Pretoria Harlequins
Predator: R’fontein 28 Wits 73; Roodepoort 39 Springs 19; UJ 76 Union 19; Boksburg 22 Impala 61; Benoni 13 Brakpan 52; Raiders 36 Pirates 16
KZN: College Rovers 36-12 Durban Collegians
Follow @saclubrugby on Twitter for all results as they happen
Selected school results:
Dale College 22-20 St. Andrews
Selborne 17-26 Queen’s College
Affies 28-10 Glenwood
Pretoria BH 26-25 Maritzburg College
Grey College 22-3 Grey High
Jeppe 28-13 KES
Bishops 10-26 Paul Roos
Paarl Boys 12-6 Wynberg
Drostdy 19-18 SACS
Rondebosch 8-38 Paarl Gym
For full school results head to www.saschoolsports.co.za
SARU announced the SA Schools squad of 28 players after a set of trial matches on Saturday. Blue Bulls prop Pierre Schoeman captains a team that will play three internationals against England, Wales and France.
The SA Schools fixtures:
10 Aug vs. France – Wellington
14 Aug vs. Wales – George
18 Aug vs. England – venue tbc
The SA Schools Squad:
Aidon Davis (Eastern Province)
Daniel du Preez (KwaZulu-Natal)
Jean-Luc du Preez (KwaZulu-Natal)
Francois Esterhuizen (Boland)
Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg (Blue Bulls)
Gideon Koegelenberg (Boland)
Wilco Louw (Boland)
Thabo Mabuza (Blue Bulls)
Malcolm Marx (Golden Lions)
Ox Nche (Free State)
Abongile Nonkontwana (Blue Bulls)
JD Schickerling (Western Province)
Pierre Schoeman (Blue Bulls – captain)
Chad Solomon (Western Province)
Dayan van der Westhuizen (Blue Bulls)
Jano Venter (Pumas)
Ryno Eksteen (Blue Bulls)
Warrick Galant (SWD)
Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Blue Bulls)
Jesse Kriel (KwaZulu-Natal)
Sandile Khubeka (KwaZulu-Natal)
Jurie Linde (Blue Bulls)
Matjikinyane Molapo (Blue Bulls)
Sergeal Petersen (Eastern Province)
Justin Phillips (Blue Bulls)
Handre Pollard (Western Province – vice-captain)
Akhona Sihunu (Border)
Duhan van der Merwe (SWD)
Team Manager: David Coert (Boland)
Head Coach: Chris October (Western Province)
Currie Cup match reports courtesy of SARU:
Border (6) 18 Pumas (23) 51
Naas Olivier scored 21 points as the Pumas cruised to an easy win on Friday. The Pumas were simply too strong for a Border outfit which has now lost all five of their matches this season with flyhalf Olivier turning in a faultless goal-kicking performance, succeeding with all nine of his kicks at goal via three penalties and six conversions.
The visitors ran in six tries to two to claim their third win of the season and they had the better of the forward exchanges, although credit must be given to Border flank Brian Shabangu who battled manfully and was prominent of both defence and attack.
Border – Tries: Gareth Krause, Matthew Taljaard. Conversion: Quinton Crocker. Penalties: Crocker (2).
Pumas – Tries: Torsten van Jaarsveld, Rudi Mathee, Renaldo Bothma, Nqubeko Zulu, Dewald Pretorius, Cornè Fourie. Conversions: Naas Olivier (6). Penalties: Olivier (3).
SWD (15) 21 Boland (15) 21
Boland’s Elgar Watts kicked a penalty in the final minute to secure a 21-21 draw to end the defending champions’ run of defeats.
The 26-year-old Watts enjoyed a top-class game all round, scoring a try and missing just a single kick at goal.
Having made a disastrous start – trailing 0-12 after just four minutes – it was a tremendous coup for the Kavaliers to come away with a share of the points, especially since they had lost their previous four matches in this year’s competition.
Boland conceded a try in the first minute of the match when Eagles scrumhalf Mzo Dyantyi spotted a gap in the Kavaliers’ defence and scooted through to score.
SWD flyhalf Theuns Kotze converted to put the home side 7-0 in front and the situation only worsened for Boland a minute later when wing Vainon Willis was yellow-carded. During the time he was in the cooler, the Eagles scored another try as the pressure told and outside centre Stokkies Hanekom dashed over the tryline.
But Watts then inspired a gutsy comeback by the visitors, starting with a penalty after a SWD ruck infringement and then breaking through the Eagles’ defence for the Kavaliers’ opening try midway through the first half.
And he finished off his good night in style by showing steely nerves to slot a last-minute penalty to earn the draw.
SWD – Tries: Stokkies Hanekom, Mzo Dyantyi. Conversion: Theuns Kotze. Penalties: Kotze (3).
Boland – Tries: Lungelo Payi, Elgar Watts. Conversion: Watts. Penalties: Watts (3).
Valke (8) 22 Leopards (20) 51
33-year-old Andre Pretorius, a veteran of 31 Tests, scored 16 points courtesy of five conversions, a penalty and a drop goal and generally dictated play well with some superb tactical kicking – with two kicks leading to tries – as the Leopards secured their fourth win in five matches.
Right wing Danie Dames ran in a hat-trick of tries as the Leopards scored six tries to two to consign the Valke to their fourth loss of the season. The hosts had the better of the opening exchanges but they were rocked by a 17-point blitz in just seven minutes from the Leopards, from which the men in red never fully recovered.
Valke – Tries: Willie Odendaal, Sino Ganto, JC Greyling. Conversions: Karlo Aspeling (2). Penalty: Aspeling.
Leopards – Tries: Philip de Wet, Hoffman Maritz, Danie Dames (3), Allister Kettledas. Conversions: Andre Pretorius (5), Adriaan Engelbrecht. Penalties: Pretorius, Engelbrecht. Drop goal: Pretorius.
Griffons (0) 10 EP (24) 34
EP took a firm grip on the competition with a comprehensive win over the Griffons. Both teams went into the game unbeaten after four wins from their four respective matches but the Kings were the dominant force in the contest, rushing into a 24-0 half-time lead to knock the stuffing out of the Griffons.
Flyhalf George Whitehead, the competition’s top point-scorer, was the star of the show for the Kings as he contributed 19 points courtesy of a try, four conversions and two penalties.
Both teams had been locked on 19 log points before the match but the Kings walked away with a full haul of five points, after scoring a bonus-point try, while the Griffons were left empty-handed.
The Kings ran in four tries as they raced to a 34-0 lead in the second half with the Griffons only managing to grab two consolation tries to add some late gloss to the final scoreline.
Griffons – Tries: Nicky Steyn, Francois Uys.
Kings – Tries: Tiger Mangweni, Thabo Mamojele, Marcello Sampson, George Whitehead. Conversions: Whitehead (4). Penalties: Whitehead (2).
The real reason for the Sharks win on Saturday: