Bulls pummel Sharks in Durban
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Bulls moved to second in the South African Conference after they pummeled the Sharks 40-10 in Durban on Saturday.
John Mitchell's side dominated the game from start to finish and outscored their opponents by six tries to one for a bonus-point as well.
Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant was the star of the show scoring three of his team's six tries.
The Bulls never looked troubled by the Sharks throughout the game and that should be a worry for the Durban side after they seemed to be turning things around towards the latter part of their recent tour.
The Sharks took an early lead with a Robert du Preez penalty in the third minute. However, that lead did not last long with Bulls flyhalf Handre Pollard orchestrating the game's first try in the sixth minute.
In the Bulls first attack inside the Sharks' 22, Pollard sent a neat chip kick over the home side's defence with Gelant collecting and scoring the five-pointer. Pollard added the extra two points with the conversion for a 7-3 scoreline.
Two minutes later the Bulls were at it again with an attack that started deep inside their own half. The ball eventually found its way to Gelant who put in a grubber kick behind the Sharks defence before winning the race in the Sharks' in-goal area and scoring his and his side's second try. Pollard once again added the conversion.
Robert du Preez had an opportunity to reduce the deficit with a penalty in the 21st minute, but he fluffed his kick horribly from about 35 metres out.
The Bulls then rubbed more salt in the Sharks' wounds when Adriaan Strauss scored his team's third try from a driving maul which started a few metres from the Sharks tryline. Pollard added the extras and after 26 minutes the Bulls were in a commanding position leading 21-3.
The Sharks finally crossed the whitewash in the 39th minute when centre Andre Esterhuizen powered his way over after sustained Sharks pressure. Robert du Preez converted and at half-time it was 21-10 in favour of the Bulls.
The Bulls were the first to strike in the second half when another dominant driving mall near the Sharks' tryline resulted in a seven-point penalty try after a Sharks infringement. It also resulted in Thomas du Toit being sent to the sin bin.
With the heavy rain coming down, the scoring opportunities were limited for the rest of the half with both sides intent on winning the territorial battle with kicks out of hand.
However, during the closing stages of the game, the Bulls scored another two tries with Gelant completing his hat-trick with a another kick and chase try before Johnny Kötze got the final score.
Man of the match: Lock Lodewyk de Jager was immense in the physical stuff especially on defence. Flyhalf Handre Pollard provided a masterclass at No.10, while flank Marco van Staden put up his hand once again with a strong all-round performance. However, the award goes to Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant for an outstanding performance, which included scoring three of his team's six tries.
Con: R du Preez
Pen: R du Preez
Tries: Gelant 3, Strauss, Penalty Try, Kotze
Cons: Pollard 3, Libbok
Yellow Card: Thomas du Toit (Sharks, 48 - repeated infringements at the maul)
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Daniel du Preez, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Kobus van Wyk.
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Johnny Kötze, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 André Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Duncan Matthews.
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Marius Jonker
Photo: Wayne Seagreen