Ferguson has brain haemorrhage op The Stormers’ victory shows they are not dead yet
● Legendary former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has undergone emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage, his old club announced yesterday.
“Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone emergency surgery today for a brain haemorrhage,” said a United statement.
“The procedure has gone very well but he needs a period of intensive care to optimise his recovery. His family request privacy.”
Ferguson’s son, Darren, manager of thirdtier club Doncaster, missed his side’s match against Wigan yesterday. at Newlands
● This was like north/south derbies of yesteryear with test match-like intensity and a crackling atmosphere that showed Super Rugby, and the Stormers, are not dead yet thanks to a 29-17 win.
Stormers captain Siya Kolisi said he would only celebrate his 100th cap with a win, and his team duly delivered thanks to heroic defence and a pack that mowed down the Bulls’ eight.
Not even a yellow card for hooker Ramone Samuels, who otherwise had an impressive game, was enough to derail the Stormers. They scored four tries to the Bulls’ two and kept flickering play-off hopes alive.
The Stormers made over 150 tackles with 93% completion, which also kept the Bulls without a bonus point, which could be crucial in the play-off race.
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has asked his team for a fast start after recent defeats were largely the fault of starting slowly.
The players duly delivered with lock Chris van Zyl barging over in the second minute only for the score to be disallowed because of a forward pass from scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage.
But the Stormers scrum drove the Bulls off their own ball close to their line. Duvenage found flyhalf Damian Willemse, who ghosted outside Jesse Kriel to score.
Willemse converted and seven minutes later the Stormers crossed the line again. This time there was no ghosting, only power as magnificent tighthead Wilco Louw took the ball at pace and scattered Bulls tacklers.
The narrow Stormers defence was stretched at times but the Bulls’ lone firsthalf try came from a more direct route.
Lock Lood de Jager ran a straight line onto Handre Pollard’s beautifully arrowed pass.
Pollard added a long-range penalty six minutes before the break.
The visitors hit the front for the first time early in the second half when flank Jason Jenkins ran a good line to score.
But fullback SP Marais rounded off the Stormers’ third try from the restart.
The Stormers have seldom defended as well this season and after repelling wave after wave of Bulls attacks, they finally put daylight between the sides when Samuels finished off another well worked move. at Kings Park Stadium
● How the Sharks suddenly front up against New Zealand sides and are absent against the others will remain one of the great 2018 Super Rugby mysteries.
They recorded a commanding 38-12 win against a dogged, less chaotic but jaded Highlanders unit yesterday.
It was clear Aaron Mauger’s charges picked the Bulls match as the one to win and though they remained competitive, a second consecutive win was a bridge to far.
The Sharks play a power-packed brand of rugby that not only works against New Zealand foes but has precision and enterprise missing against South African and Australian foes. They’ve beaten two and narrowly lost to the Hurricanes.
With this triumph their fourth of the season and their first consecutive win, their timing was impeccable.
The South African conference resembles Johannesburg’s N1 in rush-hour traffic; one slip and the team below you gets ahead.
The five points accrued from easily the Sharks’ best home showing of the season that saw them muscle their way to third place on the South African conference, a point behind the Jaguares and eight off the conference-leading Lions.
While the Lions find different ways to disappoint each week on tour, it looks like the South African wild-card conference will be decided in the final round.
The Sharks scored two good first-half tries to earn a 10-point lead through Akker van der Merwe and Makazole Mapimpi.
Loose-forward Dillon Hunt scored the Highlanders’ sole first-half try in the 27th minute when he peeled away from a rolling maul.
Physicality was married with panache in the second half with superb tries from Daniel du Preez (45th), S’busiso Nkosi (62nd) and Robert du Preez (68th).
The humidity that's dogged the Sharks at home all season was nowhere to be found and the passes that didn’t stick in earlier matches were finding their targets.
They fired on all cylinders for the better part of the cool evening but had a slight lapse in concentration when they allowed Teihorangi Walden to score in the 74th minute. By then, the black horse had long bolted and trampled over its neon-coloured obstacle.
Ismail el Haddad of Wydad Athletic celebrates after scoring the equaliser during the CAF Champions League match against Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria yesterday.