Clinical Sharks punish wasteful, careless Bulls
THE Sharks ended the Blue Bulls unbeaten run in the Currie Cup with this hard fought and well deserved victory at Loftus Versfeld last night.
The coastal men were well measured in their approach, feeding off the hosts’ errors and doing well to defend their line when under siege.
They capitalised on the Bulls mistake very early in the game with wing S’bu Nkosi cantering in after his team secured a turnover in the opposition’s half.
The Bulls struck back 10 minutes later through a well-engineered try from centre Burger Odendaal who carved the Sharks defence with a perfectly timed angled run. But they were quick to relinquish the lead four minutes later when Sharks hooker Franco Marais rumbled over from a rolling maul.
As hard as the Bulls tried to rein the visitors in, the more they made mistakes. Even though the Sharks did not make the best out of the manna from heaven, they went to halftime three points ahead.
Much of the home side’s errors stemmed from their over eagerness to get the ball through the hands but they failed at securing dominance in the set-piece and the battle for the advantage line.
Many of the Bulls’ promising forays were brought to a halt by bad decision making and some impressive defending from the Sharks pack with Jacques Vermeulen leading the charge with his tireless toil.
In the second half the Sharks came out with much more intent at attacking the opposition line and they were duly rewarded when Lukhanyo Am ran a brilliant line to dance through the Bulls defence and dot down an easy try.
The Bulls brought on flyhalf Tony Jantjies to try get them points but as soon as Jantjies’ three pointer and a try by lock Ruben van Heerden had brought them within three points of the Sharks, they cheaply surrendered their psychological advantage through some poor defending.
Three minutes after they had brought themselves into the reckoning, the Bulls allowed Garth April to gallop in for the visitor’s fourth try. He had received a well-timed inside pass from replacement flyhalf Bernard Janse van Rensburg to extend the Sharks’ lead by eight points.
The Bulls could have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the last seven minutes but their lack of composure and desperation saw them forego an easy three points in front of the poles for a quick tap that was once again extinguished by the organised and composed Sharks defence.
The win saw the Sharks go above the Bulls into second place and record their third successive victory.