Bulls put Sharks to the sword
Pretoria - Flyhalf Louis Fouché scored 27 points with the boot as the Blue Bulls brushed off a disruptive build-up to the match, storming clear in the second half to beat the Sharks 42-31 in their Currie Cup clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening.
The Sharks held a narrow 14-12 lead at the half-time interval, but the Bulls recovered well after most of their players were struck down by the flu and were unable to train this week, bagging their second win of the competition.
Sharks flanker Jean Deysel scored a try in the 22nd minute and flyhalf Riaan Viljoen converted to keep them in the game, but Fouché put the hosts in control for most of the opening period.
Fouché, who was successful with all his place kicks on the evening, converted three penalties and a drop goal from more than 50m out to give the Bulls a 12-7 lead with two minutes left in the first half.
The Sharks, however, struck back in injury time, with lock Steven Sykes offloading to scrum-half Charl McLeod who dotted down.
Viljoen, who also converted all his place kicks in the match, added two points with the boot to regain the advantage for the visitors at the break.
The teams' flyhalves traded penalties in the early stages of the second period, but Bulls flanker CJ Stander broke the deadlock in the 51st minute when he grabbed a nippy pass from winger Akona Ndungane to cross the whitewash.
Five minutes later the Sharks hit back again as centre Marius Joubert powered through the Bulls defence, and Viljoen converted to bring them back within one point of the hosts at 25-24 with 23 minutes left in the game.
But Fouché added another three points from a penalty before Arno Botha and Francois Venter both scored tries for the home side to stamp their authority on proceedings.
The Sharks pushed forward in the closing stages and were rewarded with a bonus point try from Odwa Ndungane
in second-half injury time.Scorers:
Tries: CJ Stander, Arno Botha, Francois Venter.
Conversions: Louis Fouché (3).
Penalties: Fouché (6).
Drop goal: Fouché.Sharks:
Tries: Jean Deysel, Charl McLeod, Marius Joubert, Odwa Ndungane
Conversions: Riaan Viljoen (4).
15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Clayton Blommetjies, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 7 CJ Stander, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Werner Kruger
, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Dawie Steyn
Substitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Cornell Hess, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Rudi Paige, 21 Lionel Cronjé, 22 Ulrich Beyers
15. Louis Ludik 14. Odwa Ndungane
13. Paul Jordaan 12. Marius Joubert 11. S'bura Sithole 10. Riaan Viljoen 9. Charl McLeod 8. Jacques Botes 7. Jean Deysel (captain) 6. Francois Kleinhans 5. Anton Bresler 4. Steven Sykes 3. Wiehahn Herbst 2. Monde Hadebe 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Franco Marais 17. Julian Redelinghuys 18. Jandre Marais 19. Lubabalo “Tera” Mtembu 20. Brynard Stander 21. Cobus Reinach 22. Gouws Prinsloo