The Bulls have beaten the Sharks by 18 points to 13 in a match littered with errors from both sides.
The Sharks threatened to set the game alight with a thrilling display of running rugby in the last ten minutes, sparked mostly by the introduction of live wire Paul Jordaan to win his first cap. A cheeky breakout from Jordaan set up the only try of the match, scored by Jacques Botes after Lwazi Mvovo made much of the running, but with only seven minutes left in the game and the Sharks needing another try to draw level, time ran out on the visitors.
The first half was a dour affair where neither side managed any form of synergy or dominance. Missed penalties were the order of the day; ironically it was Riaan Viljoen’s monstrous 65 metre effort that came closest, while Pat Lambie and Morne Steyn missed two each. The Bulls were dominant upfront, with Juandre Kruger imperious in the air and also profiting regularly from Bismarck du Plessis’s wayward lineout work.
This dominance continued and was increased in the second half, where a combination of commitment at the breakdown and good kick-chasing from Bjorn Basson saw the home side dominate possession and territory. Poor discipline from the Sharks, with vice-captain du Plessis the main antagonist, saw no fewer than 5 kickable penalties go the way of Steyn, none of which he missed. Lambie managed to pull two back of his own, but when Steyn knocked over a drop to extend the lead to 18-6, the Sharks looked dead in the water.
That was before Jordaan’s brief cameo gave the fans a little bit of cheer – not to mention a bonus point – with perhaps just a glimmer of hope for the future of the campaign. Not that the black and white faithful will be too encouraged by this showing, though, with huge amounts of work to be done ahead of next week’s trip to Cape Town.
Scorers: Bulls 18 – Morne Steyn 5 penalties and a drop goal.
Sharks 13 – Jacques Botes try. Pat Lambie 2 penalties and a conversion.