South Africa’s Cell C Sharks warmed up for their
Super Rugby opener against the Lions in two weeks with a strong
showing in a 31-14 win over Racing 92 in Saturday’s Natixis Cup in
“It is a
positive for us getting the win and working out a few parts of our
game plan,” captain Ruan Botha said. “We’re looking forward to
what is lying ahead, the Super Rugby campaign coming up and
we’re just focusing on that now. It’s always good to get a good hit-out early in the season. That’s going to be a focus for
us, just getting the ball around and not slowing the game down
After a bit of a slow start to the game, winger
Makazola Mapimpi opened the scoring for the Sharks, dotting down
in the corner to bring the 5,800-strong crowd to life.
Sharks forward pack established an edge as the first half wore on
and their second try came through centre Marius Louw after some
clever passing, with Robert du Preez converting to make it 12-0.
The Sharks showed they were not afraid to offload and Racing
warmed to their task, however the scoring dried up and the most exciting piece of action for a time was a heated scuffle as the
teams headed for the break with the score remaining at 12-0.
Things heated up in the second half, with centre Lukhanyo Am and
winger Kobus van Wyk combining brilliantly to send Louw over for his second try as the score moved to 19-0.
sprung to life, hitting the scoreboard through a bulldozing effort
from So’otala Fa’aso’o, with Antoine Gibert’s conversion
dragging the margin back to 12 points.
The Sharks continued to
fling the ball around, at times risking turnovers, but it paid off
when scrum half Cameron Wright crossed as the score moved to
24-7 entering the last quarter of the match.
one of their most exciting plays 26 minutes into the second half,
with reserve forward Edwin Maka busting through the Sharks’ defence to give his side the momentum.
Racing kept Sharks
pinned to their line through a host of phases, eventually breaking
through for a try to Xavier Chauveau, which was converted by
Franck Pourteau to make it 24-14 as time ticked away.
the Sharks who had the last laugh, however, with Lwazi Mvovo
releasing Curwin Bosch to score, with Bosch also slotting the conversion.
“That was a tough game, we expected a very hungry
Sharks team with their season coming up in two weeks,” Racing
92 winger Joe Rokocoko said. “I think it was just about getting
some of the young boys that haven’t been involved with us for a
long time, to get to know them a bit more. It was a good
Hong Kong’s Matt Worley worked his way
into the game after a nervy start that saw the 20-year old
making his first start for Racing since joining the academy three
seasons ago tested under the high ball. As he has done all
tour, Worley soaked up the environment to the full.
huge. The physicality of that game and the speed that they were
playing at was above what I was expecting,” Worley said. “It was a huge eye-opener. The first five minutes were quite scary,
but later in the game I felt more comfortable, it was a great experience.”
Racing 92 Squad for
Kakovin, 2. Ole Avei, 3. Luc Ducalcon 4. Manuel Carizza, 5.
Patricio Albacete, 6 Antonie Claassen, 7. Baptiste Chouzenoux,
8. Sootala Fa’Aso’o, 9. Teddy Iribaren, 10. Antoine Gibert, 11.
Juan Imhoff, 12. Albert Vulivuli, 13. Leonard Paris, 14. Joe
Rokocoko, 15. Matthew Worley, 16. Viliamu Afatia, 17. Luka
Goginava 18. Edwin Maka, 19. Boris Palu, 20. Xavier Chauveau, 21.
Franck Pourteau 22. Anthony Tuituavake, 23. Census Johnston,
24. Marc Andreu, 25. Benjamin Dambielle, 26. Louis Dupichot,
27. Esteban Abadie.
Cell C Sharks Squad for
Natixis Cup 2018
1. Juan Schoeman, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Thomas du Toit, 4.
Ruan Botha ©, 5. Stephan Lewies, 6. Philip van der Walt, 7.
Jacques Vermeulen, 8. Keegan Daniel, 9. Cameron Wright, 10. Robert
du Preez (vice-captain), 11. Makazola Mapimpi, 12. Marius Louw,
13 Lukhanyo Am, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 15. Lwazi Mvovo, 16.
Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17. Mzamo Majola, 18. John-Hubert Meyer, 19.
Hyron Andrews, 20. Tyler Paul, 21. Lubabalo “Tera” Mtembu, 22.
Grant Williams, 23. Curwin Bosch, 24. Jeremy Ward 25. Sbusiso
Nkosi, 26. Garth April.
Pictures from 2018 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015,
Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong
Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015,
Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013,
of Chartis Cup 2012 and
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.
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Cell C Sharks,