Steyn puts the boot into Sharks
Sat, 25 May 2013 19:00
Only one try in humid Durban
Morné Steyn kicked six penalties to secure the Bulls a vital away win, 18-16, over the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
In a scrappy and error-riddled affair the Sharks scored the only try, but it was the kicking of Steyn that won the day and saw the Bulls retain their second place on the standings.
In a tight affair at Kings Park, the hosts thought they had clinched it when Charl McLeod scored the only try of the game eight minutes from the end.
However, the Sharks' discipline again let them down and allowed Steyn to slot the winner five minutes from time.
Bulls captain Pierre Spies was the first to admit it was not pretty, but even ugly wins are worth four points and they kept alive their hope of a home semifinal.
While the Bulls had major issues in the scrums, regularly getting free-kicked and penalised, they certainly had the edge in the line-outs.
At the breakdown it was a real contest and the collisions were also brutal, with neither side giving anything.
The ball appeared to be slippery from the humidity, with both teams making a substantial number of handling errors that robbed the game of any real momentum.
The Sharks played with great intensity from the outset, matching the Bulls in the physical exchanges and they certainly got early reward - Patrick Lambie slotting a penalty in the third minute, after a high tackle call against the Bulls.
However, the men from Pretoria slowly started to strangle their hosts - penalties to Morné Steyn in the ninth, 22nd and 34th minutes giving the Bulls a 9-3 lead at the break.
The Sharks had their moments in the first half, but a lack of discipline - especially the petulance of captain Keegan Daniel - cost them dearly.
There was a crucial mistake by Bulls wing Bjorn Basson early in the second half, when he was yellow carded for a tip tackle on Lambie.
It appeared to spark the Sharks and they won another penalty, near the Bulls 22, soon afterwards - Lambie making it 6-9, but not before giving the local fans a few heart attacks after the ball fell over twice.
However, Franco van der Merwe joined Basson in the sin bin - after he took out the support player at a line-out. Steyn restored the Bulls' six-point lead - 12-6.
Lambie, after a great hack ahead by Charl McLeod produced a penalty against the scrambling Bulls defence, reduced it to three points - 9-12 in the 54th minute.
When Keegan Daniel collapsed another maul in the 60th minute, Steyn stretched the Bulls' lead to 15-9.
With 10 minutes remaining Basson was called back for apparently being offside, after intercepting, although replays suggested it was Charl McLeod's double-stepping that gave him the extra time.
The Sharks opted for a scrum and from that McLeod went blind and in the tackle of Arno Botha went over in the corner. Lambie slotted the crucial touchline conversion to give his team a 16-15 lead.
Soon after the restart the Sharks were penalised when Tendai Mtawarira collapsed the maul before the jumper had touched the ground. Steyn made no mistake, regaining the lead - 18-16 with five minutes left.
The Sharks had another chance, as they launched a furious raid on the Bulls 22, but a handling error brought the attack to and end and the Bulls managed to run the clock down.
Match of the match: The Sharks front row had a field day in the scrums - Jannie du Plessis, in particular, causing the Bulls major headaches - with Kyle Cooper and Tendai Mtawarira also impressive in the set piece. Riaan Viljoen's siege-gun boot often drove the Bulls back deep into their own half. However, in a scrappy and error-riddled game our award goes to Bulls flyhalf Morné Steyn - who again showed his class under enormous pressure, with another great tactical display. Although there was one kick that went too deep and put his team back under pressure in their half, he produced an assured kicking display and landed the match-winner deep in the second half when BMT was required in bucketloads. In a game this close, with centimetres in the margins, those are the moments that win big and important games.
For the Sharks:
Pens: Lambie 3
For the Bulls:
Pens: Steyn 6
Yellow cards: Bjorn Basson (Bulls, 44 - foul play, tip tackle), Franco van der Merwe (Sharks, 50 - foul playing, taking out jumper's support player)
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Piet Lindeque, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandré Marais, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Sean Robinson.
Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouché/Jan Serfontein, 22 Lionel Mapoe.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)
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