A weekend of victories on the road for SA sides

2013-08-26 00:00

THE Sharks and Western Province picked up crucial Currie Cup away wins, but it was the Golden Lions who stole the weekend show with a stunning 62-23 thumping of the log-leading Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.

The defeat relegated the Blue Bulls from top to bottom of the log as the competitive nature of this year’s Currie Cup saw the other five teams leap-frogging them in a weekend of victories on the road.

The Sharks (nine points) are now second following their 18-15 victory in Bloemfontein, while WP (10) are top after taking their limited scoring chances, and scoring two tries (by Deon Fourie and Juan de Jongh) off turn-overs, to pip Griquas 20-19 in Kimberley.

But no one predicted that the Lions, after losses to both the Cheetahs and the Sharks, would humble the Bulls in their own backyard for their first win. The match was still in the balance at half-time (20-16) but the Lions, superb in their broken play running, then scored six tries after the break to thump a young, limp Bulls outfit.

The Sharks’ coaches were also smiling after their Friday night win in Bloemfontein.

“We’re obviously very happy,” said backline coach Sean Everitt.

“It’s not easy to win in Bloem, but the guys showed tremendous character on defence.”

Everitt said that instilling self-belief in the players was a necessary process after the many changes at King’s Park.

“The guys have really cottoned on to the new structures and that gives them confidence with the calls they’re making on the field. They can see that certain structures are working, although we’re not quite there yet.

“We put the Cheetahs under pressure, but unfortunately there were again too many unforced errors.”

Fullback SP Marais had damaged a knee early in the game, but Everitt said the injury was not serious.

“I hope he will be available for the Bulls game [in Durban on Saturday evening]. Jean Deysel [man-of-the-match] received stiches in his chin, but he’s fine. He put in a great performance.”

Everitt said he was happy with the display of rookie flyhalf Fred Zeilinga.

“His drop-goal proved vital at the end. He’s still inexperienced at this level, but he certainly showed signs of what’s to come.”

Everitt said that the Cheetahs had fielded 10 Super Rugby “starters” in the game.

“So we will take a lot of belief out of this win. The Sharks are growing as a group and they’re a happy bunch.”

Forward coach Brad Macleod-Henderson agreed.

“Every week we are getting better and better. We have got a great mix of old and young and we were happy with the impact the replacement bench made,” he said.

“A guy like Cobus Reinach helped set up our second try and someone like Craig Burden also played his part. Our defence was very good, especially in the second half, and played a vital role in securing the victory for us,” Macleod-Henderson added.

Free State coach Naka Drotske said his team had too many errors.

“Full credit to the Sharks for their defence. They shifted all over the park and we struggled. We should have played more direct.”


Blue Bulls 23 Tries: Travis Ismaiel, Jurgen Visser, Francois Venter; Conversion: Visser; Penalties: Tony Jantjies, Visser. Lions 62 Tries: Jaco Kriel, Deon Helberg, Willie Britz, Derick Minnie (2), Anthony Volmink, Warwick Tecklenburg, Elton Jantjies;

Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (8); Penalties: Boshoff (2).

WP 20 Tries: Deon Fourie and Juan de Jongh, Conversions: Kurt Coleman 2; Penalties: Kurt Coleman 2. Griquas 19 Try: PJ Vermeulen, Conversion: DuRandt Gerger; Penalties: Nico Scheepers 4.

Friday’s result: Free State 15 Sharks 18.

This weekend’s fixtures (home team first):

Friday: Lions vs WP, 7.10 pm.

Saturday: Free State vs Griquas 3 pm;

Sharks vs Bulls 5.05 pm.

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