The Cell C Sharks team remains unchanged for this Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Lions at Growthpoint KINGS PARK to mark the same line-up for three games in succession.
Being able to name the same team from one week to the next is a rare luxury for a coach, never mind this being the third match in a row where Director of Rugby Jake White has been able to stick with the same side that defeated the Bulls in week one and the Hurricanes the week after that.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows he has a massive task getting his charges ready for this weekend’s massive Vodacom Super Rugby showdown with the Sharks, but the weather that has beset Gauteng over the past week certainly isn’t helping.
Ackermann lamented the fact his team couldn’t train because of waterlogged pitches as the rain continued to bucket down for a fifth consecutive day in Johannesburg.
Francois Steyn is happy to see the Lions back in Vodacom Super Rugby – but he has warned that the competition returnees can expect no mercy from his Sharks team when the team’s clash in a derby at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday evening.
The Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers both scored their first wins of the season, but this past weekend of Super Rugby action should have confirmed the growing concern among neutrals that the story of the South African conference this year will be that there is the Sharks and then there’s rubbish.
The Sharks, who would hardly have been quaking in their boots as they watched the games featuring South African teams on television during their bye weekend, admittedly weren’t all that flush in their last performance, when they beat the Hurricanes.
By grootblousmile, on 25 February 2014, at 10:26 pm
Springbok Elton Jantjies will have to wait a while longer before he will make his comeback to Super Rugby.
Jantjies, with just two Tests but more than 80 first class games to his credit, made a successful return to the playing field with the with the Golden Lions Vodacom Cup team last week – following shoulder surgery in the off-season.
By grootblousmile, on 24 February 2014, at 8:45 pm
It was a weekend of firsts in South African Vodacom Super Rugby history, with bragging rights in two derbies going to the Lions and the Toyota Cheetahs, while the Cell C Sharks cemented their position at the top of the standings.
On Friday evening, the Toyota Cheetahs turned around an 11-match losing streak against the Vodacom Bulls for their first-ever win over the team from Pretoria in this competition. It wasn’t pretty and the conditions were dire, but the side from Central South Africa would not have been too bothered by that as they won 15-9.
Saturday afternoon saw the Cell C Sharks dismantle a spirited Hurricanes side by 27-9 in Durban, after which the Lions were responsible for yet another upset when they trashed the DHL Stormers by 34-10 in Johannesburg – their first win over the Capetonians in 10 attempts.
By grootblousmile, on 24 February 2014, at 11:37 am
The first full round of the 2014 edition of Vodacom Super Rugby produced a weekend of absorbing rugby that once again proved the old adage that in this competition the unexpected should almost be expected.
And as invariably is the case, there have already been casualties among the favoured teams, with multiple winners the Crusaders, the Blues and Vodacom Bulls already on the back foot, as are last year’s beaten finalists the Brumbies and the 2012 log winners, the DHL Stormers.
The Crusaders and Brumbies both suffered defeats to good teams, but they were results that wouldn’t have been anticipated if you look at historical precedent. The Crusaders have only lost twice in home games to the Chiefs, and only once in Christchurch, and the Brumbies have tended to be better than the Reds in Canberra.
By grootblousmile, on 17 February 2014, at 1:34 pm
The Lions celebrated their return to Vodacom Super Rugby with a good win over the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein before the Cell C Sharks showed they mean business in 2014 with a bonus-point victory over the Vodacom Bulls in Durban.
For the Cell C Sharks, under a new coach in former Springbok mentor Jake White, it was a perfect start to the season. They got their 4th try at the death of their 31 / 16 win after scoring 3 five-pointers in the first 40 minutes.