Sharks squad demolish plucky Griquas, Bulls trample unfit Elephants

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Sharks wing Anthony Volmink was on the scoresheet as his side demolished the Griquas in the Franchise Cup yesterday.
Sharks wing Anthony Volmink was on the scoresheet as his side demolished the Griquas in the Franchise Cup yesterday.

The Sharks kicked off their Franchise Cup campaign with an easy 35-10 win over the Griquas at the King’s Park Stadium in Durban yesterday in spite of fielding a number of fringe players.

The tournament is aimed at being used as a preparation tournament for the Rainbow Cup, or PRO16, for four South African major franchises — the Sharks, Bulls, Stormers and Lions.

The Rainbow Cup will start in April.

On the Sharks side, the game presented a great opportunity for most of the players that were in the team to show coach Sean Everitt that they deserve to be regulars in his team as he prepares for the Rainbow Cup.

The Sharks team missed regulars such as captain Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, S’bu Nkosi, Curwin Bosch, Thomas du Toit and new signing, Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi.

Results

Stormers 33-34 Cheetahs

Lions 32-28 Pumas

Bulls 87-10 EP Elephants

The Sharks finished the clash with a total of five tries, from Anthony Volmink, Aphelele Fassi, Thaakir Abrahams, Jordan Chait and they also had a penalty-try.

However, it was the Griquas who were leading 10-7 at half time break as the visitors scored the first try of the match 22 minutes after kick-off through blind side flanker Gideon van der Merwe. Griquas skipper George Whitehead converted after the try and 10 minutes later he slotted in a penalty to give his side a 10-0 lead.

The Sharks experimental squad kept on pushing for the first try and with two minutes left before the break, they were rewarded when former Griquas winger Volmink scored an easy try and Manie Libbok’s conversion took the score to 10-7.

The visitors could have headed to the break leading with a bigger margin had Whitehead not missed another penalty in the first 40 minutes.

Whitehead also missed another penalty early in the second half as Sharks fringe players continued with their mission to impress the technical team.

Ten minutes into the second half, the Durban-base franchise were awarded a penalty-try after Griquas scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer was punished for deliberate knock-on and was sent to the naughty chair.

Leading 14-17, the Sharks quickly capitalised on having the one-man advantage as Fassi increased the score with another try, which was converted by Libbok. Replacements Abrahams and Chait also scored a try each coming off the bench and the latter converted both of them.

The Sharks will be back in action on Tuesday, March 9 when they travel to the Cheetahs.

Bulls run riot

Meanwhile, the Bulls ran riot over EP Elephants beating them with a whopping 87-10 in their Franchise Cup clash in Pretoria.

The Bulls, who won both Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup, which they won under the guidance of World Cup-winning coach Jake White, sent in second-string players, as their first-choice stars are only expected back at training this week, but they showed the high standard of the Pretoria-based franchise.

The Peter de Villiers-coached EP Elephants were made up of mainly club players who haven’t played a competitive game in a long time, and were visibly not match fit.

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