Can Sharks stop prolific prop?

2012-04-17 13:20

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


  • yusuf.mowlana - 2012-04-17 13:42

    Nice pic of Hika Elliot, the hooker

      fahdiel.agherdien - 2012-04-17 13:46

      First thing i noticed as well.

      Priester - 2012-04-17 13:53

      I have seen better looking hookers than him!

      Lionel - 2012-04-17 14:10

      Stadig oor die klippe daar Priester hahahaha

      Rich - 2012-04-17 14:29

      Hika Elliot? No, that is Taumalolo.

      Tokolos - 2012-04-17 17:54

      Whatever... They all look the same and they fall equally hard. Go Sharks!!!!

      Rich - 2012-04-17 18:37

      They don't all look the same, not only is the picture clearly Taumalolo but Elliot always plays with his socks up and he doesn't have a tattoo on his right bicep. Anyway, wouldn't be surprised if Taumalolo scores another couple of tries this week - if he gets a sniff then he's going over. If Cruden has another good game then the Sharks will come second. Chiefs to stay on top of the log.

  • Charl - 2012-04-17 13:53

    Simple answer: NO

      Tokolos - 2012-04-17 17:55

      Charlotte.... PISS OFF!!!

  • Morné - 2012-04-17 14:00

    If James Small and Joost could stop Lomu than surely the Sharks can stop Sona. South Africans is always up for the challenge.

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-17 14:27

    Sheez, look at the guy. You need a tank or two to stop him.

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-17 14:31

      If that's Hika, what does Sona require to stop?

  • David - 2012-04-17 14:28

    Don't worry Sharks, we're coming to the stadium armed!! Balls, bats, seats...anything throwable. While you've been on tour we've been practising our security side-steps, if you can't stop him then we will. Go Player 23!! :-)

      David - 2012-04-17 14:43

      Thanks Raven. By our tournament standards, it's a game we will either win well or lose hopelessly. Until that final whistle I'm a little nervous :-)

      Priester - 2012-04-17 14:43

      David jy moet daai aap twak los dit is nie goed vir jou nie!

      Jimmy NZ - 2012-04-17 16:32

      Chiefs will be ready for the throwing of missiles... you guy's behaved that way 2 seasons ago REMEMBER !!!

      malcolm.molver - 2012-04-17 16:40

      Jimmy, that's true. It only comes down to one or two rotten elements, just like what happened at Loftus and Eden Park. You get them everywhere. Regarding that specific incident two years ago, while it was inexcusable, I could understand the crowd's frustration. Keith Brown had a shocker and was rightly booed. I'm in no way trying to justify the throwing incident though.

      David - 2012-04-17 16:46

      For those of you who are cognitively impared, I in no way condone the behaviour that's been displayed at a few games this year (or any other year). Nor do I actually plan on hurling projectiles towards the players, lest I hit a Sharks player (another joke!).

      Jimmy NZ - 2012-04-17 17:03

      Hey Malcolm, you may be onto something there... Ref pelting!!! Now I could get behind that sport :) Unfortunately us Kiwi's are gonna get it... Our players are Awesome but our refs not so much ;)

      David - 2012-04-17 17:09

      How else do you think you Kiwi's got so good at the side step Jimmy? You're welcome :-)

      Jimmy NZ - 2012-04-17 17:17

      Lol :)

      Tokolos - 2012-04-17 17:56

      Go Dave... Good luck!

  • Colin - 2012-04-17 17:05

    No.!!!!!!!!!! Bismark is no playing !!!!!!!!!!

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