Your Sharks were back in action on Saturday as they faced Northampton Saints in round one fo the Premiership Rugby Cup. The English domestic season kicked off alongside the 2019 Rugby World Cup on Friday evening so there has been plenty of Rugby to watch over the past few days! Below salesharks.com highlight the key talking points from the weekend.
The Beast is Back… Again.
Sale Sharks fans will have missed the explosive, hard running, hard hitting playing style of Rohan Janse Van Rensburg at inside centre after the South African international spent most of the 2018/19 season troubled with injury.
However, The Beast was Back in style on Saturday and demonstrated glimpses of the form he showed during his short loan spell during the 2017/18 season. Rohan showed his incredible ability to beat the gain-line throughout the match on Saturday producing one of his best performances in a Sale shirt to date. Putting his doubters firmly in their place, the 25-year-old produced a barnstorming performance against Northampton, making a total of 111 meters from 6 carries, averaging 18.5 metres per carry.
Supporters at the game will have seen Rohan stake his claim for ‘Big hit of the season’ early in the campaign with a huge tackle on Saints’ James Grayson in the first half! Watch out for this on the highlights show tonight.
Steve Diamond has had a gap to fill at full-back ever since Mike Haley departed the club for Munster at the end of the 17/18 season and although there is no doubt Sam James held his own in the position for most of last year, but new signing Simon Hammersley looks to have nailed down the number 15 shirt, within one performance at the AJ Bell.
‘Hammers’ celebrated his Sharks debut in fine fashion this weekend, scoring his first try in Sale colours within five minutes of kick-off, and the former Falcons flyer didn’t stop there, Simon showed his natural ability with some great link up play across the field throughout the match before further demonstrating his finishing prowess with a second try late in the game.
The South African effect…
Jean-Luc, Daniel and Rob du Preez all made their first starts as permanent Sharks at the weekend, along with Akker van der Merwe and Embrose Papier who both came on as replacements in the second half. All five of the Sharks’ new South African contingent made an instant impact on the field.
Daniel and Jean-Luc du Preez topped the tackling statistics with fifteen and thirteen tackles respectively, showing their extraordinary power and commitment in defence. Older brother Rob was not far off either and was the only back to appear in the top 10 tackler statistics for the match.
Bonus point try scorer Akker van der Merwe was third on the tacklers list with eleven, and the ‘Angry Warthog” also topped the turnover charts with three during the game. Impressive statistics considering the Sharks’ new recruit only played 30 minutes on Saturday. Watch this space.
World Cup Review
Three Sale Sharks were in action this weekend as the World Cup commenced in Japan on Friday Morning.
Valery Morozov started for Russia as they faced Japan in the tournament opener on Friday morning. It was the tournament hosts time to shine though, as Japan put on an impressive display Russia, beating the lowest seeded team in the competition 30-10 in front of over 45,000 rugby fans.
Faf De Klerk played his part in the Springboks opening fixture vs the All Blacks on Saturday morning, and after spirited first half display from the Boks, things looked wide open going into the interval. The second half however, was a different story as the current World Cup holders began to dominate in most aspects of the game, their clinical performance in the latter stages of the match proved to be the deciding factor in a game which many rugby fans were tipping as a preview to this year’s Rugby World Cup Final.
Tom Curry featured for England in their 30-3 win over Tonga on Sunday morning. Manu Tuilagi was the star of the show showing his immense power and attacking threat throughout the match. Tom played the full eighty minutes in Sapporo, demonstrating his prowess at the breakdown alongside Sam Underhill. After an impressive first outing in the back row, both will likely feature in the back row for England’s second game versus AJ MacGinty’s USA Eagles this Thursday.