WIN! WIN! WIN!

Click and you could have your selfie appear on a Springbok player's Rugby World Cup jersey!

LIVE

    Can Sharks stop prolific prop?

    2012-04-17 13:20

    Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

    Cape Town – Doubtless with his tongue lodged somewhere in his cheek, at least one New Zealand rugby scribe has ventured that barrelling Chiefs prop Sona Taumalolo is the current rugby equivalent of Robin van Persie for scoring prowess.

    That may be stretching the truth a tad, given the Arsenal hit-man’s almost unfailing success as a goal-scorer throughout the almost-completed English Premiership soccer season.

    But in the unlikely shape of a front-row forward, Tongan favourite Taumalolo, lies the standalone top try-scorer in Super Rugby at present.

    Yes, we are headed into week nine of the competition, yet the bald 30-year-old ball-carrier proudly sits at the head of the bunch with six touchdowns, albeit closely pursued by the Bulls’ Bjorn Basson and Andre Taylor of the Hurricanes (five each).

    Another South African, the Sharks’ fullback Riaan Viljoen, features among a five-strong group to have dotted four times thus far.

    Loose-head Tauamalolo was visibly tickled pink to beef his tally by two last weekend, against the unsuspecting Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, where the Chiefs won 39-33 to power their way to the top of the overall table.

    And why not? Props traditionally tend to be the least likely sources of tries in rugby ... never mind just front-rankers, you don’t find a forward of any kind yet among at least the top two dozen try-scorers in Super Rugby history.

    Taumalolo’s speciality is barging over at close range to the try-line, and appreciative Chiefs captain and second-rower Craig Clarke has been reported as saying this week: “He loves it when we get close to the line ... he’s got a good technique at the pick-and-go, so we use him.”

    Simple – and clearly effective.

    So it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to deduce that the Sharks will be well advised, in Saturday’s big clash which could have an important bearing on the ordinary-season competition, to police Taumalolo especially carefully if the Chiefs are gaining a head of steam deep in the home team’s quarter at Mr Price Kings Park on Saturday (17:05 kick-off).

    For his part, the burly Tongan may take more than a passing interest in the fact that the inconsistent Sharks, although not collectively shy in the try-scoring department themselves this season, also have the second-worst concession rate to the Cheetahs among South African teams as things stand. They have leaked 19 in eight outings.

    The home team may also rue the fact that they are still without a likely perfect counter to Taumalolo in the leg-drive aspect, Springbok Beast Mtawarira who, even if not crossing the whitewash himself, is often instrumental in securing momentum for the Sharks in driving, mauling play.

    Dale Chadwick is currently standing in pluckily and industriously for him at No 1, but is not quite the same threat with the ball tucked under an arm ...

    *Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    25 comments
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    • Blitz
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
    • SS1
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
    • SS2
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
    • SS3
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    /Sport

    Fixtures

    04 July 2015
    • Hurricanes v Highlanders, Wellington 09:35

    Results

    27 June 2015
    20 June 2015
    13 June 2015
    12 June 2015
    06 June 2015
    05 June 2015
    30 May 2015
    29 May 2015
    23 May 2015
    22 May 2015
    16 May 2015
    15 May 2015
    09 May 2015
    08 May 2015
    02 May 2015
    01 May 2015
    26 April 2015
    25 April 2015
    24 April 2015
    18 April 2015
    17 April 2015
    11 April 2015
    10 April 2015
    04 April 2015
    03 April 2015
    28 March 2015
    27 March 2015
    22 March 2015
    21 March 2015
    20 March 2015
    14 March 2015
    13 March 2015
    07 March 2015
    06 March 2015
    28 February 2015
    27 February 2015
    21 February 2015
    20 February 2015
    15 February 2015
    14 February 2015
    13 February 2015

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    EXPERT OPINION

    “Craig Joubert deserves plaudits for making a gutsy call against the home side in the Super Rugby semis, writes Herman Mostert.”

    Opinion Poll

    The finalists for Super Rugby 2015 have been determined. Who will walk away winners for the very first time?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.