Sharks continue their unbeaten run
REPORT: Curwin Bosch contributed 21 points to ensure his side's fourth consecutive Currie Cup victory with a 26-19 over the Blue Bulls in Durban.
The Blue Bulls were the first on the board as they took an early seven-point lead at Kings Park in Durban. However, the hosts took a steadier approached as they marched to 16-10 halftime advantage.
After eight minutes of play, the Blue Bulls' pressure inside the Shark' 22 was finally rewarded. Jamba Ulengo opened the visitors’ account while Tian Schoeman had no problem slotting over the easy conversion, 7-0 just shy of the 10-minute mark.
As the clock reached 20 minutes the Sharks gradually found their way into the match. The hosts were on the board thanks to a penalty on the Blue Bulls 10-metre line. Curwin Bosch stepped up and gave his side the three points to trail 3-7.
Not long after that Schoeman restored the 7-point gap with a 36-metre kick, as the flyhalf and fullback continued to exchange penalties kicks. Just shy of 30 minutes, the score was 10-6 to the Blue Bulls.
The four-point advantage really seemed to trouble the Blue Bulls as a defensive error by Ruan Steenkamp saw him received his marching orders after a dangerous tackle on Jean-Luc du Preez. With a distance of 53 metres, Bosch had his first miss of the match, the fullback pushed it wide of the mark and the score remained 10-6 to the Blue Bulls.
Sharks ended the first half in spectacular fashion as Ruan Botha scored a try after piling on the pressure against the 14-men Blue Bulls. Bosch added the extras to extend his team's lead to 13-10. On the stroke of half-time, the 19-year-old took an opportunity to successfully land a drop-goal.
As the second half commenced the hosts' scrum seemed to struggle with the Bulls' forward pack. Just outside their 22, the scrum collapsed and the Blue Bulls opted to kick to post, Schoeman added the first points of the second half to narrow the deficit to three.
But celebrations were short-lived as talisman Bosch showed his pace to go around Arno Botha before he scored his try in the corner. With a difficult kick from the touchline, the young man converted his own try, 23-13.
Just after an hour, the Blue Bulls found themselves in the Sharks' 22 and got rewarded with two consecutive penalties. The deficit was narrowed to four points thanks to Schoeman's two successful kick, 19-23.
With five minutes remaining on the clock, a reckless contest in the air by Ulrich Beyers on Rhyno Smith near the Bulls' 10-metre line gave Bosch another opportunity to add to his team's score, 26-19.
Inside the final minute of the match, the men from Pretoria retained the ball from a line-out but the rolling maul collapsed and Warner had to feed the backline, the Sharks were offside and Bulls were rewarded with a penalty.
The Bulls opted for the touchline and another possible rolling maul attempt was in vain as the Sharks were solid in defence.
Man of the match: Jambo Ulengo always seems to impress as every time the wing got the ball he looked to spark the Blue Bulls' attack with his pace. While on the winning side, Stefan Ungerer was amazing in defence and attack as he rallied the troops. However, our man of the match has to go to the Sharks' fullback Curwin Bosch. He produced some great kicks to give his side territorial advantage, the fullback ended the first half with a drop goal and came with the same intent as he also scored a try for his side.
Tries: Botha, Bosch
Cons: Bosch 2
Pens: Bosch 3
For Blue Bulls:
Pens: Schoeman 4
Yellow Card: Ruan Steenkamp (Blue Bulls, 32 - dangerous tackle)
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Inny-Christian Radebe, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 John-Hubert Meyer, 18 JC Astle, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Hanco Venter, 21 Sibusiso Sithole, 22 Rhyno Smith.
Blue Bulls: 15 Duncan Matthews, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Nic de Jager, 19 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs, Ricus van der Hoven
TMO: Marius Jonker