The Blue Bulls beat the Sharks XV at Mr Price Kings Park to progress to the Vodacom Cup semi finals, coming away with a 37 – 36 victory after two late tries pulled them from behind and again one can question the ability of a Sharks team to close out a close game.
The game started with an exchange of penalties, first by Gouws Prinsloo, and Wesley Dunlop returning the favour by equalising in the opening 5 minutes. Prinsloo got the Sharks XV back in the lead soon after with an easy penalty right in front of goal. What followed was a 10 minute period of to and fro until the Bulls were again penalised at the breakdown, taking the lead after a quarter of the match to 6 points.
This spurred the Bulls into action, and from a few phases managed to send Gerrit Jan van Velze over the tryline, which Dunlop duly converted to take the lead for the first time in the match. The possession remained with the men from Pretoria, and with nothing on in the backline, fullback Ulrich Beyers decided to take three points from a well kicked drop goal.
The Sharks XV finally managed to get their hands on the ball from the kick off, and with a few good phases put together, Francois Kleinhans went over for the five pointer. Gouws Prinsloo converted from close and the lead of three points to the Sharks was restored. On the hooter to half time, the Sharks got another penalty and Prinsloo got the Sharks leading 19 – 13 at the break.
The second half got off to a great start for the Sharks, with Prinsloo extending their lead to 9 points immediately after kick off. And things just got better as Sbu Sithole ended off a good backline move, after the ball went to ground and the Bulls stopped playing, but cantered around to under the posts to give Prinsloo an easy conversion, and the Sharks a 16 point cushion.
The Bulls started a comeback, first through a Dunlop penalty, and then Courtnall Skosan collecting a brilliant cross kick to reduce the deficit of the Bulls to only 6 points, following the Dunlop conversion. This led to a final quarter that would be very interesting indeed.
With 8 minutes to play as replacement winger Chris Jordaan went on a magical run to put another five points on the board, and with Gouws Prinsloo adding two, the lead was 13 points with 6 minutes to play.
The Bulls proceeded to throw everything including the kitchen sink at the Sharks, and with them camping on the Sharks line in search for the try, Kyle Cooper was sin binned for repeated offences by the men from Durban in attempts to slow the ball down. This eventually led to Ulrich Beyers crossing the line for the five pointer. This made is a six point game with a minute to play and it wasn’t long before the Bulls were again on the attack, and again crossed the line to kill off the Sharks XV’s chances in the Vocacom Cup.
Tries: Francois Kleinhans, S’bura Sithole, Chris Jordaan
Conversions: Gouws Prinsloo (3 from 3)
Penalties: Gouws Prinsloo (5 from 6)
Tries: Gerit Jan van Velze, Courtnall Skosan, Ulrich Beyers.
Conversions: Wesley Dunlop (2 from 2), Tony Jantjies (2 from 2)
Penalties: Wesley Dunlop (1 from 1)
Drop Goal: Ulrich Beyers (1 from 1)