Sharks add to Blue Bulls' woes
Odwa Ndungane (Gallo Images)
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Durban - The Sharks inflicted more misery on the Blue Bulls and climbed to the top of the Currie Cup table in the process, after a convincing 34-18 victory at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
The hosts recovered after falling behind to an early try from veteran winger Akona Ndungane, who scored two tries, to cross the line four times.
SP Marais, Heimar Williams, Charl McLeod and Marco Wentzel were all on the scoresheet to join a faultless kicking display by Fred Zeilinga as the Sharks moved above the Cheetahs and Western Province to the summit.
The Bulls, desperate to bounce back after their 62-23 hammering by the Golden Lions last week, began with a bang as Ndungane crossed for the first try inside five minutes.
The score came when an excellent lineout drive in midfield was followed by quick hands from Handre Pollard, Waylon Murray and Jurgen Visser as the ball was sent to the left winger to run in the try.
But the hosts hit back 120 seconds later when Visser collected a Zeilinga kick upfield, only to see his own attempted clearance charged down by the lurking Marais.
Flyhalf Zeilinga then kicked the Sharks into the lead after 13 minutes when Paul Willemse was penalised for tackling a man in the air.
The Bulls were temporarily reduced to 14 men at the start of the second quarter when Frik Kirsten was sent to the sin bin for an illegal off-the-ball 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.Scorers:
Tries: SP Marais, Heimar Williams, Charl McLeod, Marco Wentzel
Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (4)
Penalties: Zeilinga (2)
Tries: Akona Ndungane (2)
Conversion: Handre Pollard
Penalties: Pollard (2)Teams:
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
Substitutes: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Edwin Hewitt, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Butch James, 22 Jaco van TonderBlue 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
Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 David Bullbring, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tiaan Schoeman, 22 Clayton Blommetjies