The coastal side lost their previous encounter to the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria, but on this occasion they were quick out of the blocks and outscored the home side by four tries to one on their way to a 28-7 halftime lead.

They would eventually outscore the home side by six tries to three, with flyhalf Curwin Bosch delivering a flawless kicking display to convert all six tries.

It was Durbanites who made the start they were hoping for when fullback Manie Libbok was on hand to round off a slick opening move under the sticks, which Bosch converted (7-0). Speedster Madosh Tambwe, back in the side after nursing a hamstring injury, then punished the home defence when he streaked in for his solo effort (14-0).

Then it was the turn of hooker Dan Jooste to power his way over for their third converted try, this time from a strong driving maul.

Unlike last weekend, when they were accurate and clinical for large parts of the game against the DHL Stormers, the Nelspruit team struggled to create any significant passages of play early on – and when they did manage to get some momentum, they spoilt it with handling errors. However, the home side did manage to make inroads towards the end of the first half. 

Erich Cronje

Erich Cronje

Loose forward Francois Kleinhans finally got them on the scoreboard when he muscled his way over the line despite the attention of a few tacklers. Young flyhalf Theo Boshoff slotted the conversion to narrow the deficit to 21-7. Unfortunately, the young pivot also missed the target with two penalty kick attempts.

It was another lengthy driving maul which set the platform for Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi to show his strength as he powered his way over right on the hooter to score out wide. Bosch nailed his fourth conversion kick to hand the visitors a deserved 28-7 halftime advantage.

Predictably, the home side came out more determined in the second half and put up camp for a long time in the opposing half. They were rewarded when midfielder Erich Cronje darted in off a set piece move, fending off Lukhanyo Am in the process, to score a converted try to cut the deficit to 28-14.

The home side piled on the pressure but the visitors’ defence held firm, although scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba was yellow carded for repeated offside offences. However, the visitors’ forwards kept the scoreboard ticking with a Kerron van Vuuren try from another excellent maul (35-14).

The home side kept on going and Cronje, who had a good game in the midfield, scored his second and the team’s third try when he took a pinpoint pass to dive over in the corner. The last score of the match also belonged to replacement hooker Van Vuuren, who went over for almost an identical try to clinch the game 42-19 for the visitors.


Phakisa Pumas 19 (7) – Tries: Francois Kleinhans, Erich Cronje (2). Conversions: Theo Boshoff (2).

Cell C Sharks 42 (28) – Tries: Manie Libbok, Madosh Tambwe, Dan Jooste, Sbu Nkosi, Kerron van Vuuren (2). Conversions: Curwin Bosch (6).