Sharks eviscerate the Kings
The Cell C Sharks gave the Southern Kings a rude awakening on their return to Vodacom Super Rugby by walloping them 43- 8 at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
The Kings scored first and looked full of running at times, but found themselves way out of their depth against a Sharks side that looked very rusty and still needs to properly find its feet.
Two tries by Odwa Ndungane, coupled with a strong forward performance and some sparkling runs by Willie le Roux at the back, were enough to leave the scoreline lopsided and the Kings looking shellshocked at the end.
There will be many adjectives to describe the Kings’ performance, and ‘brave’ will definitely be one of them, but it is hard not to think that if their political problems at administration level were sorted out earlier, they would stand a better chance in this year’s competition.
As it is, they look hopelessly outgunned, and this while playing at home and against a team that was not at its best.
A lot of hard work awaits Deon Davids and his team if they are to make any impact in this year’s competition.
Six tries to one tells a story, one that could have been even more lopsided if the Sharks had really hit their stride in the full 80 minutes.
Gary Gold’s side, on the other hand, look a lot more composed and seems to have a lot more rhythm than it did last year, but its tests will come further on in the competition, when it meets some of the championship contenders.
For now, Sharks fans can look forward to a better season than they had last year, with some extra firepower in the backline in the form of Le Roux.
The fullback sometimes seems to be an enigma, but when he gets it right, it looks sensational, especially with the way he glides into the backline at crucial times, injecting pace and allowing the defence to hesitate for a split second, which, at the end of the day, is all he needs.
Considering the Sharks found themselves behind on the scoreboard early on, thanks to a maul try by Chris Cloete in the ninth minute, they did very well to stave off the initial bluster and take control of the game.
The Sharks will leave Port Elizabeth happy that despite their rust, they leave with a full compliment of points, while the Kings will be staring at a long season ahead.
MASSACRE Franco Marais of the Sharks drives forwards during their match against the Southern Kings yesterday