Sharks leave Bulls behind
Sharks leave Bulls behindSHARE
The Sharks pulled away from the Blue Bulls in the second half to secure a convincing 34-18 bonus-point victory at Kings Park.
The Durban outfit scored three tries after half-time to move to the top of the Currie Cup standings at the end of Round Four.
The first half was a hard-fought affair, with the teams scoring a try apiece, and a late Fred Zeilinga penalty was all that seperated them at half-time.
The Bulls took an early lead when a great backline movement saw Jurgen Visser put Akhona Ndungane over for a well-worked try.
The score came when an excellent line-out drive in midfield was followed by quick hands from Handre Pollard, Waylon Murray and Visser as the ball was sent to the left wing to run in the try.
The Sharks hit back when SP Marais charged down a Visser clearance to score in the corner, and the Bulls were dealt a further blow when prop Frik Kirsten was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.
The Sharks thought they had capitalised on their man advantage on the half-hour when Odwa Ndungane went in for a try, which ended up being ruled out after an obstruction by Louis Ludik.
After the Bulls were back to 15 players, Pollard managed to draw them level after the home side were caught offside.
But more illegal play by the Pretoria side on the stroke of the hooter gave Zeilinga the chance to put his team back ahead and he made no mistake with the gap sitting at three points by the changeover.
The Bulls began the second half by drawing level after 49 minutes when a scrum error was committed by the hosts.
With the hour-mark looming, the Sharks seemed to shift gears and Jean Deysel did well to offload to Keegan Daniel, who managed to shove off two tackles before passing inside to Williams to run in an easy try after 55 minutes.
A solid scrum was then the catalyst of the third try for McLeod as Jacques Botes collected quickly and played it back to the replacement scrumhalf to dive in on the right corner.
With 14 minutes to play, prop Dale Chadwick was sent to the sin bin for a third scrum infringement.
But the momentum was with the Durban side by that stage and they secured the bonus-point score with 10 minutes to play – Williams and Botes playing a key role running through the middle, before the ball was spread wide to the right for Wentzel to score.
Akona Ndungane did manage a second try five minutes from time, but it turned out to be scant consolation as Pine Pienaar's men slipped to a second loss in four games.
Man of the match: Charl McLeod made a big impact when he came on and Marco Wentzel showed his value in the line-outs and open play but our award goes to young flyhalf Fred Zeilinga who directed his team well and kicked everything.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Marais, Williams, McLeod, Wentzel
Cons: Zeilinga 4
Pens: Zeilinga 2
For the Blue Bulls:
Tries: Ndungane 2
Pens: Pollard 2
Yellow cards: Kirsten (21 mins, Dangerous tackle) Chadwick (65 mins, Repeated infringements)
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jacques Botes (captain), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Edwin Hewitt, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Butch James, 22 Jaco van Tonder.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Ulrich Beyers, 11 Akona Ndungane, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Morné Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 David Bullbring, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tiaan Schoeman, 22 Clayton Blommetjies.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Reuben Rossouw
TMO: Shaun Veldsman