Sharks XV maul the Valke

2011-03-14 00:00

SPECTATORS who had come out for a rare glimpse of top-class rugby on the South Coast were not disappointed as the Sharks XV retained their unbeaten run in this year’s Vodacom Cup.

The junior Sharks moved to the top of the South Section log with a commanding 67-26 bonus point win over the Valke in front of 3 000 supporters at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre on Saturday.

In a match that marked the return of Sharks rugby to the South Coast for the first time in 21 years, the Durban-based side ran in five tries in the first half and six in the second as they outclassed the Valke in all facets of the game.

Said Sharks XV captain Ross Cronjé, “The first half was a bit scrappy, but in the second half the guys pulled through and we finished strongly.

“The Sharks are trying to spread the game of rugby around KZN and we want to show our support to our supporters and show them that we appreciate it.”

Cronjé added that the stadium and its facilities are of a similar high standard as the team’s home venue, Mr Price Kings Park.

“It’s a fantastic stadium, the facilities are amazing and I expect great things in the future. I definitely think it could become an annual thing. We had a nice crowd, nice support, nice facilities, the wind was a bit tough to play in, but otherwise it was great.”

Outside centre Jerome Pretorius, who attended neighbouring Suid-Natal Primary School along with left wing Anton Verster, said it was a memorable occasion.

“It was great to play at this new stadium and see some familiar faces,” said Pretorius. “To come back and score a try is something I’ll remember for a long time.”

Verster shared his team-mate’s sentiments, saying, “It was very special. My mother, my brother and his wife and some old school friends of mine were all here so that gave me extra motivation and confidence and made me want to play a big game. It’s the first time I’ve been back home and that I saw the stadium and I was very impressed.”

The post-match function saw the official opening of the Southern KwaZulu-Natal Gymnasium , which is an initiative of the Southern KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union (SKZNRU) supported by the South African Rugby Legends, Ugu, the Vikings Academy, Halfway Toyota and Genesis, with equipment sponsored by Virgin Active.

Said South African Rugby Legends CEO John Allan, “Sport is a catalyst for bringing communities and people together, but what it also is, is an opportunity.

“We as an organisation like to give opportunities to everyone, and SKZNRU and the Vikings Academy want to give an opportunity to the community around us.”

SKZNRU president Juno Fourie declared the day an overwhelming success. “We are very pleased with how the day turned out. We had a good crowd of 3 000 spectators showing their support and everything went smoothly.”

He said Vikings Academy and Genesis will handle the day-to-day running of the gym and praised their strong commitment to the project.

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