It seems to be a recurring theme; every year the first few weeks of Super Rugby rarely ever make for a comforting playoffs outlook for South African conferences, particularly for the Bulls, however Round Four, as with one previous may just dispel this curse.
It may be a little early to call the victors ‘’playoffs potentials’’, but still, Frans Ludeke’s side is starting to find their Super Rugby feet in the 2014 competition, following their powerful performance over a New Zealand side which had showed dominance from the first week (yes, even despite the loss to Highlanders).
No doubt the Bulls gained much needed momentum and confidence from their Lions’ victory; however one still expected a much closer contest from this game, instead of the 4 tries to 1, and certainly not the full 5 points added on to the Bulls final tally.
Contributing to this convincing win was one Eastern Cape product – Akona Ndungane, who joined an elite club of South Africans as Super Rugby centurions. Ndungane ran ahead of his teammates to enjoy a standing ovation by media and crowd, joining him in celebrating this milestone.
SuperSport Journalist Brenden Nel Tweeted “First time in my 17 years at Loftus that I’ve seen press men stand up and applaud for a player running onto the field.”
There are many stories that have been told about the remarkable contribution which the Ndungane brothers have made to South African rugby. But what makes #Akona100 even greater is the journey of this stalwart. Ironically, his brother’s struggles at Loftus paved the way for Akona, and two broken legs later he’s the ultimate poster boy for courage, hard-work, determination and a ‘never-say-die’ attitude that has made this 33-year-old so well-liked and respected.
Not a bad show either for #Akona100; of the 54 minutes he played, #VodacomRugbyStats credits him with two offloads, 6 carries, three kicks caught and he came agonizingly close to claiming the bonus point, honours that were later claimed by Marcel van der Merwe.
Another achiever of the game who deserves mentioning, was Ndungane’s wing partner on the other side of the field – Bjorn Basson, who reached his 50th Super Rugby match cap.