2019 Golden Lions Senior Grand Challenge.
The Golden Lions Senior Grand Challenge has been revamped and sees, Hartebeespoort, Germiston Simmers, Soweto Eagles, Union Bulldogs and Rams Rugby Clubs joining the competition to attempt to halt the might of the Stingers. After suffering a defeat against the Johannesburg Police on a friendly encounter, it was always going to be essential for the Stingers to kick start the season with a good result against the Simmers on Saturday 13 April 2019. They did just that in a highly-impressive 20 – 20 draw. Tshuma Stingers are well in line with their aim of finishing undefeated in this season and ultimately lift the Senior Grand Challenge Cup for the third time in a row. The Stingers last met Germiston Simmers in 2016 and the later walked away with a 32 – 20 victory over the Stingers who were just 3 years old at the time. Fast forward to 2019 Captain Simbarashe Chadya led his boys onto the field to face Germiston Simmers. In just under three minutes Tshuma Stinger’s Lwando Yiliwe drew first blood and took three points over the upright to put Stingers in the lead which they maintained until the very last minute of the game. The high tempo game saw players throw pound for pound in an attempt to gain dominance. In the 28th minute Tshuma Stingers went on to pick the score board up with a converted try scored by Hlumelo Khama. At the restart Simmers dominated the scrums and forced the Stingers to camp in their territory. This eventually gave the visitors an opportunity to cross the Stingers try line for 5 points. It was great to see Tanner Fox and Kulani Mhangwani forcing turnover balls to allow Tshuma Stingers to regain possession and advantage. The Midrand-based side led the Germiston Simmers 10 – 5 at half time break. Upon return for the last and final half Vice Captain Briann Mkiva, and his backline troops executed a superb clean break as the Fly Half demonstrated just how tough a cookie he is. He sold a dummy to the Simmers who quickly bought it and allowed him to break their defensive line. Hlumelo Khama was in the right place and time to receive a pass and cruise into the Simmers try box to claim his second try of the day and secure his joint man of the match title with Noko Malahlela. We could not go without noticing the great defence Stingers produced with a limited bench. Stingers continued to frustrate the visitors on every attempt to pick up points even after spending a good amount of time in their territory by derailing their offence with forced errors and penalties. However the same can be said for the defending champions. Tshuma Stingers have once again carried over into this year their unwavering defence. Special mention has to go to Noko Malahlela who stood very tall in defence. Even after a yellow card reduced the team down to 14 man, our players concur that the well-rounded efforts of our conditioning coach Jean Sissing are paying the dividends on the field. Meanwhile, the fans were treated to a nail biting finish which equalled to nothing less than a Test Match. The boys put everything on the line and left it on the field and that’s what rugby is all about. Simmers scored an equalizer at the very last minute. This served as a reminder of the important role and impact of having experienced reserve players. Time stood still as the Simmers attempted to convert the try and edge the hosts with 2 points. As the ball travelled through the warm air, it just missed the posts with match referee Jason Abrahams blowing his final whistle to end the game at 20 all. Both teams produced the most impressive all-round performances to give the supporters a worthy outing. The Midrand-based side will have a two week break ahead of a busy month of May. Tshuma Stingers will be hosting Rams Rugby Club on 4 May 2019 at Midrand High School. We trust that these motivational avows will serve as an invitation to lots of young stars who we hope will swell our ranks this season. Come one come all to support home grown rugby and continue our legacy of healthy living and champion attitude and mind-set. Head Coach Sifundile Lofty Tyebileyo