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Monday, January 23, 2006


Super 14: Sharks start hunting


The Sharks ran out comfortable winners in both their warm-up matches against the Leopards in Durban on Friday night, their first pre-season outing before the inaugural Super 14 gets under way next month.

In the first "Sharks versus Leopards" game the Great White Sharks ran out 25-10 (five tries to two victors). No kicks were taken at goal

In the second, high tempo match, the Ragged Tooth Sharks scored an impressive 70-5 (14 tries-to-one) win over the Leopards in an entertaining match.

The Sharks website said in its media release that there was a real sense of "urgency" shown by the Raggies, who looked intent on scoring an emphatic victory.

Their superior fitness and creativity, with excellent linking between the forwards and backs saw them control the match from start to finish.

Earlier two teams of the Wildebeest squad - the team playing in the Vodacom Cup, a secondary domestic competition in South Africa - also played each other. This meant Sharks coach Dick Muir had an opportunity to observe 50-odd players from the Sharks region.

Muir, no doubt, would have been impressed by the skill and fitness levels.

But what would have been more encouraging was to see players like AJ Venter, Tsepo Kokoali and Dean Hall back in the frame after spending much of the 2005 season on the sidelines with injuries.

In the first match (between the Wildebeest sides) one player who would have made observers sit up and take note was a young fly-half by the name of Errol Tobias. He is the son of the 1980's Springbok Errol Tobias, but judged on Friday's performance he will make name for himself on merit ... not on his father's reputation.

The first "Sharks versus Leopards" game, played over two 30 minute chukkas, was an entertaining game with both teams full of running.

The Leopards' two tries came off scraps, while the Great White Sharks constructed their five tries systematically.

For the Sharks Odwa Ndungane, Craig Burden, Grant Rees, Danie Saayman, and replacement Tsepo Kokoali scored tries.

No.8 Braam Immelman caught the eye as a roaming loose forward who came into the line regularly.

Other players to impress were the centre combination of Craig Burden and Grant Rees, lock Nicolai Blignaut, hooker Bismarck du Plessis and Bok wing Dean Hall.

It would be unfair to single out individuals in the second "Sharks versus Leopards" match.

This victory that was based on team work, but there was a welcome return to action for Bok utility AJ Venter, whose work rate, along with his team mates, was exceptionally high.

Samoan Daniel Farani was all over the place and made a big impact, while the ploy of selecting Percy Montgomery at fly-half worked a treat as his acceleration of the mark, and composure under pressure kept his team on the front foot on attack.

He defended his channel well and is a definite option at No.10 for Muir in the Super 14.

Dusty Noble, Andries Strauss, Brett Hennessey, Percy Montgomery, Ruan Pienaar, Jacques Botes (4), Daniel Farani, AJ Venter (2) and replacements JP Pietersen and Okkie Vermeulen all scored tries.

The good news as well was that the Sharks sustained no major injuries and there are no concerns for the medical staff after the evening's action.

robd is going to be very happy about this arti donner!!!  
I know. It is nice and positive, but still realistic.  
Ag, I'm just all smiles today!  
Anyone have any idea what happened to Werner Cronje?  
no clue robd  
He was kak anyway. Not sure what the point is of a lock that can't take lineout ball.  
Farani looking impressive and then we have Dean Hall making a comeback..

Rob looks like the news this week is better than last week. Nice positive start.
Yeah. Go the Sharks!  
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