A strong second half performance from the Sharks, ignited by a strong showing from the Sharks substitutes, got the Sharks to a bonus point 34 – 18 victory over the Bulls at Growthpoint Kings Park. Charl McLeod’s best 40 minutes in his 50th Currie Cup match got the Sharks a full house of points.
The Bulls got off to a flying start in the first half, scoring the first try of the match, Akona Ndungane finishing off a wonderful backline move which was started by Jurgen Visser breaking the line. It didn’t take long for the Sharks to hit back though, SP Marais charging down a Visser clearance kick and dotting down in the corner.
The only other points for the half were scored through the boot of Fred Zeilinga and Handre Pollard, scoring two and one penalty respectively. Pollard had a drop goal overturned after some foul play from Frik Kirsten, who got a yellow card for a tip tackle.
Paul Willemse almost spent some time on the side of the park after dropping his shoulder into Lwazi Mvovo, taking him out after putting a kick through. The penalty was given, but the player was lucky to get away with the hit.
First points of the second half went to Handre Pollard, his first kick hitting the upright but getting the second shot of the half on target.
The Sharks scored the first try of the half, Keegan Daniel setting up Heimar Williams for an easy run in. Daniel broke along the touchline and brilliantly off loaded to Williams who jogged in untouched. Zeilinga converted for a well-deserved seven point lead with 25 minutes to play.
Charl McLeod’s impact off the bench was immense, scoring the third Sharks try. His service and speed around the edges proving the difference between the Sharks from the first half. The Sharks got a scrum deep in Bulls territory thanks to a charged down kick, McLeod scoring off the base with a strong run.
Dale Chadwick received a yellow card for consistent penalties conceded at the scrum, with the Sharks having to play 10 of the last 15 minutes with 14 men. This only seemed to push the Sharks into another gear as Marco Wentzel went over for the bonus point try. This after a kick through from the Sharks was gathered by the Bulls, but the pass was intercepted by Williams and swung to Wentzel to finish the game off as a contest.
This didn’t keep the Bulls from attacking though, Akona Ndungane scoring his second try of the match in the last minutes to reduce the deficit to 16 points.
The Sharks improved their play at the breakdown for this match, managing plenty of steals in the tackle situation, Jacques Botes especially getting into the thick of things. The line-outs also improved in the second half, Marco Wentzel showing his worth stealing a few Bulls line-outs, again, breaking their momentum.
On the negative side, the Sharks scrum struggled, Chadwick seemingly the weak point, being penalised three times and eventually getting a yellow card for his efforts. Also, handling errors halted Sharks momentum in the first half.
The moment of the match was Charl McLeod coming onto the field, his presence changing the dynamic of the match and playing a truly magnificent forty minutes.Tweet