Tshuma Stingers travelled South on Saturday 23 June 2018 to maintain their lead in the Golden Lions Senior Grand Challenge.
The hosting team Southern Knights performance was largely based around the physicality and size of the forwards when they met the Midrand team in the second round of games. However, the Stingers won the battle and returned the favour to the Knights after they stole a win in Midrand during the first round match.
The Clubs’ under 19 teams took to the field and gave a worthy curtain raising encounter with the Stingers winning 56 – 07 against the Knights.
The big boys match was infected with a slow start due to injuries, enough evidence to remind everyone that these two giants really go hard at each other and leave it all on the field. Siphamandla Madlala of Stingers was forced to leave the field due to a recurring shoulder injury which might force him to take the whistle instead. The Knights also lost Captain Gershwin Afrika to injury as a result of the very physical encounter.
General Malusi Mkhize crossed the white wash to score a superb opening try 11 minutes into the game after a well calculated move from the Major General Briann Mkiva. At the restart Knights built some pressure against the Stingers but the visiting team was quick to exit the red zone denying the hosts any opportunity to pick up the score board. Tshuma Stingers Lightning Sting struck again through the highly accomplished performance of the man in the No 9 jersey scoring the second try for the Midranders. Malusi Mkize converted the try to allow Tshuma Stingers a favourable 10 – 00 lead at halftime.
An error at the restart gave the hosts an opportunity and they used it, Southern Knights produced great kicking and Ariel skills to cross the try line forcing the Stingers to stand behind the post as they converted their only try for the day. The Stingers forwards battled to establish a real go-forward in the second half, while the hosts had their forwards bulldozed at scrum time and at the breakdowns. Jeraldo Koopman slotted two penalties and allowed the Knights to take over the lead putting the visitors under score board pressure as time was running out.
Tshuma Stingers Captain Simbarashe Chadya and his vice Briann Mkiva called for effective contest, discipline at the break downs and set-phase accuracy. A classy game management introduced impact player Rofhiwa Mundalamo who wasted no time to shake things up on the field by bouncing through the opposition to bring a favourable advantage for the Midranders. Unarine Tshitari also made his first appearance at first team level and stole the hearts of many after scoring the winning try which served as a reminder of just how good the Defending Champions can be when they turn it on. The Golden Lions match official blew the final whistle with Tshuma Stingers winning 17 – 13 against Southern Knights. Tshuma Stingers proved clearly that they have what it takes to produce consistent commanding performances under pressure.
The Heavens above will agree that this clash was nothing less than a World Test rugby match at its best, and in the end, Tshuma Stingers proved that they mean business when it comes to defending the Golden Lions Senior Grand Challenge Cup. The CEO and Founder of Tshuma Stingers Mr Ndumiso Tshuma thanked the opposition and congratulated both teams for their performance on the day.