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Jaco PeyperLionsLions coach Johan Ackermann has formally asked for “clarity” on certainly questionable rulings made by referee Jaco Peyper in their encounter with the Sharks last week.

Ackermann – who made it clear he is not blaming the match officials for the 23-37 loss in Durban, he laid at the door of a “poor start” by his side and “a lack of discipline” – has written to SANZAR Games Manager Lyndon Bray and South African referees’ boss Andrew Watson.

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Jake WhiteJP PietersenCell C SharksJake White has indicated that any kind of honeymoon period is over for his Cell C Sharks team, with the next three weeks of Vodacom Super Rugby presenting a significant step up from what has gone before for his log-leading side.

The good news for Sharks fans is that their team will be going into the sequence of matches described by White as a massive challenge – against the Reds (home), Vodacom Bulls (away) and Waratahs (home) – with the significant presence of JP Pietersen back in the mix.

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Super RugbyThe Vodacom Bulls delivered their best performance of the season as the Cell C Sharks kept their grip on the top of the Vodacom Super Rugby table.

The three-time champions from Pretoria scored four tries to one in their impressive victory over the Blues at Loftus Versfeld – their first try-scoring bonus-point of 2014 in a 38-22 win.

The Cell C Sharks’ score over the Lions was similar – 37-23 – and they also got a bonus-point for four tries which, as in the Vodacom Bulls’ case, was scored very late in the match.

The two South African teams currently touring Down Under both lost – the Toyota Cheetahs by 43-33 against the Reds in Brisbane, while the DHL Stormers put in a very spirited performance in Christchurch, but ultimately lost by 14-13 against the Crusaders – their 33rd successive home win over teams from the Republic.

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Cell C SharksThe 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.

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LionsLions 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.

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Super RugbyCell C SharksThe 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.

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Super RugbyIt 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.

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Cell C SharksJake WhiteCell C Sharks director of rugby Jake White reckons his team has hit the target that was set them for the first segment of the season.

The Sharks beat the Hurricanes 27-9 at Growthpoint Kings Park this past weekend to ensure they go into their first bye week with two wins under the belt. And after picking up a four try bonus point against the Vodacom Bulls in week one, his men have only one point less than a full house and are soaring on the early log standings.

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Cell C SharksIn a show of support for the squad that defeated the Bulls last weekend, Director of Rugby Jake White has stuck with the same Cell C Sharks team for this Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby showdown with the Hurricanes.

Continuity is one of the key factors for success and being able to name an unchanged line-up is a rare luck for a coach. It is a reward for outstanding performances and testament to the team’s efforts as well as a thumbs’ up to the medical and conditioning staff who have the players in such good physical shape.

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Allan DellEdinburghAlan Solomons has lured former IRB Junior World Championship-winning Baby Bok prop Allan Dell to Edinburgh.

Educated at Queens College in Eastern Cape, the promising young prop, who can play on both sides of the scrum, qualifies for Scotland through his grandmother, Joan Carmichael, who was born in Paisley and brought up in Edinburgh.

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Cobus ReinachGoverning body Sanzar has confirmed that Television Match Official Deon van Blommenstein made a critical error in awarding Cobus Reinach his try during the Cell C Sharks’ 31 / 16 win over the Vodacom Bulls in their Vodacom Super Rugby match in Durban on the weekend.

Sanzar referees boss Lyndon Bray confirmed the try – which led to repeated replays – should not have been awarded as the ball was knocked-on by Sharks lock Anton Bresler.

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Super RugbyThe 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.

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Cell C SharksThe DHL Stormers still have to get into the action and will have other intentions, but the first two matches of Vodacom Super Rugby reinforced the pre-season view that the Cell C Sharks will be the team to beat in the South African conference.

Certainly the other three sides that played this weekend were light years behind the Sharks, and that confirms the view picked up in the last Absa Currie Cup season, when the understrength sides of the Sharks and Western Province dominated the league season before contesting the final: there really are only two strong unions in South Africa at the moment.

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