Currie Cup

Sharks win Loftus battle

2014-09-20 18:47
Blue Bulls v Sharks (Gallo Images)

Pretoria - The Sharks kept their Currie Cup hopes alive by overcoming the Blue Bulls 26-15 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

While 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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 crossbar.

In the second quarter the Bulls returned their six-point lead thanks to two Potgieter penalty conversions.

Sharks 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.

However, 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 latter converting.

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 woes.

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.


Blue Bulls

Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (5)


Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, S'bura Sithole
Conversions: Lionel Cronje (2)
Penalties: Cronje (2), SP Marais (2)


Blue Bulls

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 

Read more on:    sharks  |  blue bulls  |  currie cup  |  pretoria  |  durban  |  rugby

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