Pretoria - The Sharks kept their Currie Cup hopes alive by overcoming the Blue Bulls 26-15 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
the scoreline favoured the Sharks, it was not so much their own prowess
than a host of unforced by the Bulls playing into their hands.
result effectively diminished the Bulls' chances of reaching the
playoffs as they occupy sixth place on the Currie Cup log with three
weeks left before the semi-finals.
The Bulls' lineout was chronically dysfunctional on the night with the hookers not quite finding the jumpers.
With this crucial attacking platform neutralised the Sharks further made it difficult at the breakdowns.
Blue Bulls opened the scores short of 10 minutes with flyhalf
Jacques-Louis Potgieter succeeding with a penalty conversion before
adding a second only a minute later for a six-point lead.
Sharks, however, soon levelled the scores when fullback SP Marais saw
both his long-range efforts from more than 50 metres out go over the
In the second quarter the Bulls returned their six-point lead thanks to two Potgieter penalty conversions.
pivot Lionel Cronje had two attempts of his own but he first pulled his
kick to the left before his second shaved the right-hand upright.
Cronje did not have to dwell too long on his failed shots at goal as
Sharks flyer Lwazi Mvovo intercepted a Burger Odendaal pass to dart down
the line to score, with the flyhalf converting for a one-point lead
going into the break.
Ten minutes into the second half the Sharks
struck another debilitating blow when winger S'bura Sithole fielded a
superb cross-kick by Cronje to score in the right-hand corner, with the
Six minutes later Cronje extended the lead
through a penalty conversion to hand his side an 11-point lead with
little over 20 minutes left on the clock.
While the Bulls
replaced hooker Bongi Mbonambi for Callie Visagie and Nicolaas Janse van
Rensburg for lock Paul Willemse, it did little to remedy their lineout
The Bulls made a number of advances into the Sharks half
but the visitors were strong on defence and turned the ball over at the
rucks to take the wind out of the hosts' sails.
With 13 minutes
left in the encounter Potgieter narrowed the gap with a penalty
conversion but their fight-back attempt proved to be to no avail.
Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (5)
Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, S'bura Sithole
Conversions: Lionel Cronje (2)
Penalties: Cronje (2), SP Marais (2)
15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Jesse Kriel
15. SP Marais, 14. S’bura Sithole, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Cameron Wright, 8. Tera Mtembu (captain), 7. Etienne Oosthuizen, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. JC Astle, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Danie Mienie, 18. Johan Meyer, 19. Khaya Majola, 20. Hanco Venter, 21. Tim Swiel, 22. Tonderai Chavhanga