Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
23 Mar 2019
7:16 pm

Mapimpi magic gets Sharks back on track

Heinz Schenk

It's a simple recipe for the Durbanites against the Rebels.

Luke Jones of the Melbourne Rebels tackling Aphelele Fassi of the Cell C Sharks during the Super Rugby match between Cell C Sharks and Rebels at Jonsson Kings Park on March 23, 2019 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

The Sharks are back on track in this year’s Super Rugby campaign with a morale-boosting if somewhat dull 28-14 victory over the Rebels at Kings Park on Saturday.

There was nothing special about the Durbanites’ recipe as they simply focused on power and structure.

It worked well and eventually stifled a wayward Aussie opponent.

Who was the star in this match?

Makazole Mapimpi is way more than just an exciting finisher. The Springbok winger showed his all-round worth in a game where there were precious little moments of brilliance. The 80 running metres he made was by far the game’s highest, he completed six tackles and affected a turnover. It’s a pity that his second clean break, a brilliant, weaving run didn’t result in his second try because of Marius Louw’s yellow card for a late hit.

Key moments and themes

  • The Sharks’ win was based on nothing more than keeping things familiar. After two consecutive defeats, they went back to the basics, focusing on power and minimising risks. It took a while for them to take control against a more enterprising Rebels team, but it proved to be justified.
  • For a team that does pride itself on a pragmatic game, the Sharks will need to work on their lineout, which didn’t function particularly well. Given the Bulls’ proficiency there, that needs to be addressed for next week.
  • The Rebels now seem on wobbly ground after initially being the best team in the Aussie conference. They again conceded nine penalties in the first 50 minutes and also conceded an unforgivable 21 turnovers. That’s no platform to build from.
  • One heartening development for the national selectors will be the continued hunger of veteran Beast Mtawarira, who made a eye-catching 13 tackles – a positive sign for the World Cup.

Point scorers:

Sharks – Tries: Dan du Preez, Robert du Preez jr, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Robert du Preez jr (2). Penalties: Du Preez jr (3).

Rebels – Tries: Tom English, Jack Maddocks. Conversions: Quade Cooper (2).

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