DURBAN – The talent in the Sharks’ backline is “insane” according to one of the most talented of the lot, wing Madosh Tambwe, who will be closely marked by the Cheetahs in tonight’s Super Rugby Unlocked clash at Jonsson Kings Park.
Last week in Nelspruit, the competition saw what the Sharks’ back division can do when they get decent possession, and there was also a reminder of how lethal Tambwe can be when he scored a sensational solo try.
The finesse in that remarkable try should not be that surprising when you remember that the 23-year-old holds the record for the fastest hat trick in 25 years of Super Rugby history – in 2018, in a match for the Lions against the Stormers, his third try came in the 13th minute, and for good measure he later scored a fourth.
Tambwe joined the Sharks at the end of 2019 and was in fine form – as was the team as a whole – in Super Rugby earlier this year but when training resumed after lockdown he suffered a grade two hamstring tear, and his eight weeks on the sidelines meant his first game since March was last week against the Pumas.
“I was fortunate to have a great moment in that game (his scorching try), but we have a great backline full stop,” Tambwe said. “The talent is insane and scoring tries is what we are about, and hopefully there will be some more against the Cheetahs.
“We felt we were getting back to our pre-lockdown selves against the Pumas, and against the Cheetahs we want to pick up where we left off last week.” Tambwe says the key to the Sharks rediscovering their form was some serious introspection following their heavy defeat to the Bulls.
“We asked ourselves who we are as a team and what we stand for,” he said. “We knew we were going to play against a team that fights from the first minute to the 80th, so we told ourselves that we were going to go out there and put up a fight ourselves.”
Tonight the Sharks host a Free State team hungry for success to prove that SA Rugby was wrong to boot them out of the PRO14.
“Every team wants to win silverware so we have to be willing to put up an extra fight if we are to bring a Cup to Durban,” Tambwe said. “The Cheetahs are just as motivated, and we know what they can (do) when they have momentum.
“They have an electrifying backline and a very solid pack of forwards. It is going to be an interesting game of footy – each team will have done their homework, and each knows what the other is capable of doing with front-foot ball.”
Teams for Durban
Sharks – 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Phendulani Buthelezi, 7 Henco Venter (c), 6 Dylan Richardson 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 John Hubert-Meyer, 2 Dan Jooste, 1 Ox Nche.
Bench: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Werner Kok.
Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Junior Pokomela (c), 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais.
Bench: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Jeandre Rudolph, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Chris Smit.