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The Sunwolves have bite

For a team that had under two weeks in pre-season the Wolves managed to play a brave, exciting game The Cheetahs should have been worried at some stage and if it wasn’t for the replacements early on from Franco Smith they could have lost.

The Cheetahs will take pride in the character they showed and will look back and take a few lessons from this match. No one will under estimate the Sunwolves and if you willing to field an under strength side against them- at your own peril.

The Wolves showed some great innovation, speed and resilience. Their addition is becoming more of a positive addition and they are well placed to leave a mark on this tournament.

Akihito Yamada was exceptional in scoring a hat trick that lit up the round. #Awooo

Lions still in good stead

A loss to the champions the Highlanders saw the Lions end their overseas tour with two wins in three. The performance was not as bad if you look at the numbers and game a second time.

The Lions may need to adopt a few options if they look to be an all-round game. They will need to at their kicking game. The Lions kicking was out of touch in Dunedin and may need to refine it a bit.

They showed a lot more one dimensional play this weekend as well, playing off the second receiver so often the Highlanders had it covered. The Highlanders offered an impressive rush defense that capitalized on long, cut-out passes and this resulted in smothering tackles, intercepts to mention a few.

What will be key is how close the Lions came to scoring in the last minute when there was a chip over the defence and they regathered.

Attacking variations will be important going forward. Bar a game in Argentina, the Lions have majority of their games in South Africa and should be poised to finish top in their group.

We also learned that what you do with possession is very important as the Lions dominated possession & territory (71% and 70 % respectively).

The Lions at some point looked to have run out of ideas and could be their biggest downfall if they do not vary their game. Their depth looks much better than most sides in the competition.

The Sharks are better than last year

They Sharks have looked good over the weeks. Slowly showing a vast improvement on the past season.

They have looked good in the set-piece and have a great blend between experience and youth. The side that took to field on Saturday averaged just 25 years. Forget the contentious decision to award the penalty try which I think was completely wrong and bonkers.

The credibility to match officials needs to seriously be looked at. The Sharks played what was in front of them and they dominated. Both Stormers packs got pummelled at the scrum bar one or two when Scarra and the less fancied Oli Kebble felt like scrumming.

The Beast had one of his best games and destroyed both Springbok incumbents. The line out was much improved even pipping a Stormers throw. The tactical nous of Gary Gold has to be lauded.

There is a tour ahead but for now the Sharks can be hopeful of a strong season. The thought of Pat Lambie, Chilliboy Ralepelle, Francois Kleinhans, Renaldo Bothma, Jacques Potgieter, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Botha among many who will boost the squad.

To Gary Gold, unleash S’bura Sithole. He will add some variety to a backline that could derail the Sharks attack. The Stormers will need to go to the drawing board because the next two clashes are as tough as they get.

The Brumbies who look flawless and a trip to Argentina against the Jaguares could define their season.

Absa Currie Cup Round 3 Preview


We have a look at this weekends Currie Cup fixtures and squads

ABSA Currie Cup
ABSA Currie Cup

Absa Currie Cup Round 2 Previews


Its round 2 of the 2014 instalment if the Absa Currie Cup and we give you all the lineups and our thoughts – By Clayton Saville

Xerox Golden Lions
Xerox Golden Lions

Sharks 31, Bulls 16


Jake is back, and he has a star-studded line-up to take on a Bulls team that everyone has written off before kick-off.

Frans not guilty


Frans Steyn has been found not guilty following a citing over the weekend.

Steyn was cited by the match commissioner for charging into a ruck in the 78th minute where he made contact with Chiefs player, Nanai-Williams.

Following a review of the evidence, Jannie Lubbe, who conducted the hearing Steyn did not breach Law 10.4 (h) with reference to foul play.

Steyn will therefore be available for selection this weekend when the Sharks tackle the Highlanders.

Now Jordaan is out for the season


The Sharks’ injury bogey has continued with the news that centre Paul Jordaan has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

Sharks confirm Smit’s appointment as CEO


The Sharks have confirmed the appointment of John Smit as CEO of the union.

Smit new Sharks CEO?


Springbok rugby star John Smit is poised to make a spectacular return to the Shark Tank as the new chief executive of the Sharks, replacing veteran administrator Brian van Zyl.

Dagg on the bench for Saders


The Crusaders play their fourth consecutive South African side this weekend when they meet the Sharks in Durban. The Sharks are currently sitting near the top of the table having won 4 out of 5 games and have come off a bye last week so will be rested and rearing to go. The two teams last met in 2011 in the playoffs where the Crusaders won 36-8 securing a place in the semi-finals.

Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his team making three changes to the starting fifteen that played the Stormers last weekend.

Andy Ellis returns to halfback moving Willi Heinz to the bench. Zac Guildford moves to the left wing to replace Johnny McNicholl who fractured his fibula in last weekend’s game against the Stormers. While Adam Whitelock takes his place on the right wing.

On the bench Telusa Veainu will have the opportunity to make his first appearance for the Crusaders if he makes it onto the field.

Kick-off is at 7:10pm on Friday 5 April (6.10am on Saturday 6th April NZ time) at Mr Price Kings Park, Durban.

Crusaders team

1. Wyatt Crockett
2. Corey Flynn
3. Owen Franks
4. Luke Romano
5. Samuel Whitelock
6. George Whitelock (c)
7. Matt Todd
8. Luke Whitelock
9. Andy Ellis
10. Tyler Bleyendaal
11. Zac Guildford
12. Ryan Crotty
13. Robbie Fruean
14. Adam Whitelock
15. Tom Marshall


16. Ben Funnell
17. Joe Moody
18. Dominic Bird
19. Jordan Taufua
20. Willi Heinz
21. Telusa Veainu
22. Israel Dagg

Steyn to fullback for Sharks


The Sharks have selected Frans Steyn at fullback for their clash against the Crusaders.

Shields spreading the love again (oh and the shit)


The Spred and Spri awards

Steyn, Kanko dropped from Sharks starting XV


Last weekend’s match against the Brumbies saw some big performances from a number of younger players in the team, and for that, Sharks coach John Plumtree has rewarded them for the Rebels game this Saturday.

Rebels team for Sharks announced


The RaboDirect Rebels welcome the return of their Captain, Gareth Delve, from injury for their first tour match against the Sharks in Durban.

The Rebels also welcome back Wallaby winger, Cooper Vuna, who has missed the Club’s opening matches with a scapular injury he sustained in the first trial last month.

RaboDirect Rebels Head Coach, Damien Hill, has also rewarded promising New Zealand born winger, Jason Woodward, selecting the talented rookie in the run on side for his debut.

“The Club is in a great position having players such as Jason and Cooper available for selection.

“Cooper is renowned for his try scoring ability, while Jason has shown in last season’s ITM Cup he is a player of the future,” said Hill.

“Gareth has made an immediate impact since returning. His on and off field leadership will be a great acquisition for this young Rebels side taking the field.”

While it will be an historical match for Woodward, the night will also celebrate Laurie Weeks’ 50th Super Rugby Cap.

Rebels Hooker Ged Robinson paid tribute to his front row teammate.

“Many people would appreciate the work Laurie does on the field, but the people who know him personally and at this Club understand how important he is to the team dynamic and how resilient he has been over the past two seasons to get to this point.

“He is a very popular member of the Melbourne Rebels Club.”

The RaboDirect Rebels Team to play the the Sharks at Kings Park March 23. Kick off 5.05pm (LIVE FOXSPORTS 3 March 24. Kick off 2.05am AEST)

1. Nic Henderson

2. Ged Robinson

3. Laurie Weeks*

4. Hugh Pyle

5. Luke Jones

6. Scott Higginbotham

7. Scott Fuglistaller

8. Gareth Delve (c)

9. Nick Phipps

10. James O’Connor

11. Cooper Vuna

12. Lachlan Mitchell

13. Mitch Inman

14. Jason Woodward^

15. Angus Roberts

16. Shota Horie

17. Paul Alo-Emile

18. Cadeyrn Neville

19. Jordy Reid

20.  Nic Stirzaker

21. Rory Sidey

22. Richard Kingi

*50th Super Rugby Cap

^Super Rugby Debut

Not considered due to injury: Kurtley Beale, Kimami Sitauti.

Keegan back for Sharks


The Sharks welcome back their captain, Keegan Daniel for their match against the Brumbies this weekend.

Sharks names unchanged line-up for Kings


John Plumtree has the rare pleasure of being able to select an unchanged line-up for his team’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Southern Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

Kings name team for Sharks


The Southern Kings have announced their Super Rugby Squad to take on The Sharks at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, 9th of March 2013.

The team will run onto the field under the leadership of Darron Nell, after Director of Rugby Alan Solomons announced that last Skipper Luke Watson had been named on the bench following the blow he took to his throat during the game against the Western Force.

“Luke is still battling with inflammation in the throat and there are still a few concerns around his fitness levels for Saturday’s game, and as a precaution we decided to keep him out of the starting line-up to ensure that we don’t disrupt the training ahead of Saturday,” he said.

“We felt from a playing perspective it was best to have the starting fifteen settled early on in the week, and we’ve done that. The consequence of that is that Darron comes up in place of David Bulbring, and takes up the leadership of the side,” he said.

Solomons said Watson would be seeing a specialist later in the week, and if there were still concerns there were alternatives that could be considered.

Andries Strauss, who celebrates his 29th birthday today, holds onto his Vice Captaincy, while Schalk Ferreira, who was battling a bit with a slight rib injury last week, has been named in the starting line-up.

Strauss said the team would be bringing the same level of intensity against The Sharks, if not bringing a more intense game than what was played against the Western Force.

“As a team we have set ourselves goals, and winning one game doesn’t mean we’ve really achieved anything yet… There is a big onus on us to improve on that and if we want to win more games in this competition then we are going to have to improve on that.”

“There is no better way than to take on a side with fifteen Springboks and showing the world once again that we can play this game,” he said.

Head coach, Matt Sexton, said they were expecting the game to be quite physical, with the Sharks most likely to be looking at wearing down the Southern Kings at the scrum.

“We will definitely be looking at improving our level of ball retention. If you consider that during the Western Force game we made in excess of a hundred tackles in the first half of the game, which, if you have to take those sort of statistics into every game, sooner or later you’re going to run out of petrol, so we want to make sure we retrieve the ball and hold onto it,” he said.

Former Sharks player, Steven Sykes, who also takes to the field in his second game for the Southern Kings, said he was looking forward to playing against his former teammates.

“I think the people will treat us with a bit more respect than what they had before the season. I think we did very well in the first game that we played and we showed that we are here and we are here to stay. I don’t think people will send their second string sides down to us, so it’s a nice challenge for us as well.”

Sykes said he was also looking forward to playing to a full house at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.

“The atmosphere at the game against the Force was amazing, probably the best I’ve experienced, and I am hoping that everyone will come out and support us again as we take on the Sharks,” he said.

Kings team

15.          SP Marais

11.          Marcello Sampson

13.          Ronnie Cooke

12.          Andries Strauss (Vice Captain)

14.          Sergeal Petersen

10.          Demetri Catrakallis

9.             Shaun Venter

1.             Schalk Ferreira

2.             Bandise Maku

3.             Kevin Buys

6.             Cornell du Preez

4.             Darron Nell (Captain)

5.             Steve Sykes

7.             Wimpie van der Walt

8.             Jacques Engelbrecht


16.          Edgar Marutlulle

17.          Jaco Engels

18.          David Bullbring

19.          Luke Watson

20.          Nicolas Vergallo

21.          George Whitehead

22.          Hadleigh Parkes

Sharks change one for Stormers


The Sharks have only changed one for their match against the Stormers.

The only change for the Sharks comes in at loose-forward where Jean Deysel replaces Jacques Botes who moves to the bench.  Marcell Coetzee will shift from 7 to the openside 6 position with Deysel wearing the number 7 shirt.

The Sharks

15. Louis Ludik
14. JP Pietersen
13. Paul Jordaan
12. Francois Steyn (C)
11. Lwazi Mvovo
10. Patrick Lambie
9. Cobus Reinach
8. Ryan Kankowski
7. Jean Deysel
6. Marcell Coetzee
5. Franco van der Merwe
4. Anton Bresler
3. Jannie du Plessis
2. Craig Burden
1. Tendai Mtawarira

16. Kyle Cooper
17. Wiehahn Herbst
18. Pieter-Steph du Toit
19. Jacques Botes
20. Charl McLeod
21. Meyer Bosman
22. Odwa Ndungane

Elton starts, Grant on the bench


Elton Jantjies gets another start for the Stormers after a horrid afternoon with the boot against the Bulls.

Fullback Joe Pietersen and tighthead prop Frans Malherbe come into the starting line-up from the side that went down 17-25 to the Bulls last Friday, whilst flyhalf Peter Grant is back in the matchday 22 after completing his Japanese club commitments.

Joining Grant on the bench is prop Pat Cilliers – who started in the No.3 shirt last week – and scrumhalf Louis Schreuder who will warm the bench in place of Dewaldt Duvenage this weekend.

Saturday’s match, which will be played at Kings Park, kicks-off at 19h10.

The DHL Stormers team to take on the Sharks is as follows:

15. Joe Pietersen
14. Gio Aplon
13. Jean de Villiers (captain)
12. Damian de Allende
11. Bryan Habana
10. Elton Jantjies
9. Nic Groom
8. Duane Vermeulen (vice-captain)
7. Rynhardt Elstadt
6. Siya Kolisi
5. Andries Bekker
4. De Kock Steenkamp
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Deon Fourie
1. Steven Kitshoff

16. Martin Bezuidenhout
17. Pat Cilliers
18. Don Armand
19. Nizaam Carr
20. Louis Schreuder
21. Peter Grant
22. Gerhard van den Heever

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan

Sharks select strong team for opener


Despite a number of injuries the Sharks have been able to name a strong starting XV for their game against the Cheetahs.

Goose back for Cheetahs


Springbok flyhalf Johan Goosen will make a welcome return to the playing field when he starts for the Cheetahs in their opening Super Rugby encounter against the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Sharks Super Rugby squad


The Sharks have announced their 35-man Super Rugby squad.

Lambie will play 10 for Sharks


Sharks coach John Plumtree has confirmed to theSuperXV website that Patrick Lambie is set to play at flyhalf for the Sharks in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament, instead of fullback, where he played last year for most of the season.

Opening rounds crucial for SA’s favourites


When it comes to picking the favourites to lead the South Africa conference the popular vote seems to be split between the Stormers and the Sharks.

Bismarck to miss start of Super Rugby


Bismarck du Plessis will miss the start of the Super Rugby tournament which kicks off in mid-February.

Sharks opts for easy warm-up games


The Sharks will play friendly games against local sides, the Leopards and Pumas, as part of their Super Rugby preparations.

2013, the Year of the Bok


I have been mulling over a subject for my last column of 2012 for about a month now.

Swys named Lions assistant coach


The Golden Lions Rugby Union is pleased to announce the appointment of Swys de Bruin as the new assistant coach for the MTN Golden Lions senior side.

Sharks goes across borders


UAE Rugby today announced a ground breaking development with world famous Super XV franchise The Sharks, based in Durban South Africa, to co operate in the management of three High Performance Academy programmes in the UAE commencing in January 2013.

Plum calls on Boks for final


The Sharks’ match day 22 to take on Western Province in the Absa Currie Cup Final on Saturday at Mr Price KINGS PARK features a mix of those who have done duty all season as well as returning Springboks.

Wat ‘n naweek van rugby!


Wat ’n naweek van rugby resultate!

Plum resists Bok temptation


Jean Deysel will win his 50 Absa Currie Cup cap for The Sharks in Saturday’s semi-final when they host the Blue Bulls at Mr Price KINGS PARK for the 4.30pm kick-off.

Blue Bulls unchanged for semi’s


Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar made no changes to his side that beat the MTN Lions last weekend for their Absa Currie Cup semi-finals clash against The Sharks in Durban.

Cheetahs 30 v Sharks 37


Games between these two teams are always unpredictable, but it’s one the Cheetahs need to win to stay in the run for a top 4 finish.

Sharks 13 v Blue Bulls 12


This weekend’s Currie Cup actions kicks off with a cracker down in Durbs where the Sharks will host the Blue Bulls who are fighting to keep up with the semi-final contenders.

Griquas 22 v Sharks 15


As disappointing as our national team might be, at least we still have a top provincial competition in the Currie Cup where the Kwas will kick off this weekend’s round against the Sharks.

Deon Fourie captains WP from 6


Nine players will make their Absa Currie Cup debuts for DHL Western Province when they take on the Sharks in a first-round match at DHL Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 19h10).

Clarity behind Kanko’s omission


There has been some confusion over Kankowski’s omission from the Springbok squad of 30 players for the Castle Rugby Championship kicking off in Cape Town on the 18th of August.

Chase the dream


The most successful team in Super Rugby history to never win the title.

Super Rugby Final – preview


The longest season in Super Rugby history comes to an exciting conclusion this weekend, with the Super Rugby Final between the Chiefs and Sharks guaranteed to provide a new champion.

Chiefs unchanged for final


The Chiefs have announced their team to play the Sharks in the Investec Super Rugby final this Saturday night at Waikato Stadium.

Chiefs looking to become 3rd Kiwi Super Champions


The Chiefs will look to become the sixth team to win a Super Rugby Championship, a victory that could see the balance of New Zealand rugby power shift North to Hamilton.

One change for Sharks, still no Lambie


The Sharks have made just one change to their starting line-up ahead of the Vodacom Super Rugby semi-final match against the Stormers on Saturday, with Paul Jordaan failing a late fitness test.

No Vermeulen for Stormers


The Stormers will go into the semi-final against the Sharks without the services of Duane Vermeulen.

Super Rugby semi’s confirmed


The first week of the Super Rugby Finals Series is complete and the winners of the two Super Rugby Qualifiers, Crusaders and Sharks, are confirmed away participants for the Super Rugby Semi-Finals.

Super Rugby Qualifiers preview


The Vodacom Bulls and The Sharks face tough challenges in Australasia on Saturday in the Vodacom Super Rugby Qualifiers.

Lucas in for Cooper


St.George Queensland Reds playmaker Ben Lucas has been chosen at flyhalf for Saturday’s Super Rugby Qualifying Final against the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.

Reds won’t appeal Cooper ban


Queensland Rugby (QRU) advises it will not appeal the SANZAR judicial ruling to suspend St.George Queensland Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper on a dangerous tackle charge to avoid further disruption to its team’s title defence which continues in two days time.

Alberts at lock for Sharks


The non-availability of Pat Lambie and Frans Steyn through injury and competition rules respectively have forced John Plumtree into changes.

Cooper gets 1 week suspension


Queensland Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper has been ruled out of Saturday’s Super Rugby Qualifying Final against the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium after being found guilty of a dangerous tackle charge.

No Lambie, Alberts for Sharks


The Sharks will go into their do-or-die clash against the Bulls this Friday without stars Pat Lambie and Willem Alberts.