Bulls shock Sharks to break away duck
MATCH REPORT: The Bulls scored their first away win of the season when they upstaged the Sharks 30-17 in Durban on Friday.
Playing with more flair and enthusiasm, the Bulls regained some lost pride in a season of disappointments.
The Bulls outscored their hosts by four tries to two.
Fullback Warrick Gelant scored a hat-trick as the Bulls turned in their best performance of a dismal Super Rugby season.
Bulls No.8 Nick de Jager also scored a try to go with 10 points from the boot of flyhalf Tian Schoeman, an early replacement for the injured Tony Jantjies, younger brother of Springboks No.10 Elton.
The Sharks grabbed tries through prop Thomas du Toit and fullback Curwin Bosch, with the latter also adding two conversions and a penalty.
Apart from the clinical finishing of Gelant, the Bulls were boosted by the form of their returning Springboks, especially the centre pairing of Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel.
They were ahead inside eight minutes when De Jager scored the easiest of tries as a Sharks line-out throw from Franco Marais eluded everybody and was poached by the loose forward, who simply had to fall over the line to score.
The home side hit back when Du Toit powered over for their first try, but it proved a temporary reprieve as the Bulls dominated the remainder of the half.
Sharks flyhalf Garth April knocked on to allow a turnover that saw Gelant canter over, before the latter combined superbly with Serfontein to score his second try and give the Bulls a 17-10 half-time lead.
After Schoeman added a penalty, the Sharks found a lifeline when Bosch profited from strong work by Du Toit to score a try and reduce the deficit to just three points.
But the Serfontein-Gelant combination worked its magic again two minutes later to hand the fullback his hat-trick and seal victory for the visitors as they plan ahead for the next Super Rugby season under New Zealand coach John Mitchell.
Man of the match: Curwin Bosch was the Sharks back who asked most questions of the Bulls' defence, while Daniel du Preez and Philip van der Walt were their most energetic forwards. Bulls centres Jessie Kriel and Jan Serfontein brought their June Test form into this game. Duncan Matthews' chasing of the kicks was invaluable and won a couple of crucial penalties. Locks Rudolph Snyman and Jason Jenkins epitomised the energy and enthusiasm in the Bulls team. However, the Bulls' South African A-team fullback Warrick Gelant showed there is a bright future ahead and sealed a great performance with a hat-trick of tries.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Du Toit, Bosch
Cons: Bosch 2
For the Bulls:
Tries: De Jager, Gelant 3
Cons: Schoeman 2
Pens: Schoeman 2
Yellow card: Sibusiso Nkosi (Sharks, 45 - repeated infringements, playing a man in the air)
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Garth April, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Lubabalo Mtembu, 6 Philip van der Walt (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Marius Louw.
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Kefentse Mahlo, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten , 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Rudolph Snyman , 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Johnroy Jenkins, 19 Shaun Adendorff, 20 Renaldo Bothma, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Burger Odendaal, 23 Tian Schoeman
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)