Sharks evis­cer­ate the Kings

CityPress - - Sport -

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.

PHOTO: MICHAEL SHEE­HAN / GALLO IM­AGES

MAS­SACRE Franco Marais of the Sharks drives for­wards dur­ing their match against the South­ern Kings yes­ter­day

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