Cape Town - The Bulls rose four places to second in the Super Rugby standings
after an ugly 17-10 victory on Saturday against the
As it happened: Sharks 10-17 Bulls
Leading competition points scorer this season Handre
Pollard kicked four penalties for the winners to take his tally to 120
and right-wing Francois Hougaard scored a breathtaking try.
Marcell Coetzee crossed the try-line for the Sharks and fly-half Fred
Zeilinga kicked a conversion and a penalty before a sombre Kings Park
stadium crowd in Durban.
Bulls led 8-3 at half-time but fell two
points behind early in the second half before Pollard slotted three
penalties to secure a sixth victory from nine games.
The Hurricanes top the standings with 33 points, the
Bulls have 28 and the Brumbies are on 26 after 10 rounds of
the southern hemisphere inter-provincial championship.
tipped by many pundits to be the strongest South African contenders
before the competition started two months ago, lie ninth 12 points
behind the leaders.
The match was an eye-sore with battering-ram
rugby the order of the day. It was raw, highly physical and error-strewn
with much poor handling and many turnovers.
When there was
tactical kicking, it was often misplaced, and Sharks supporters left the
ground disillusioned after a poor game and a third straight loss for
the Durban team.
Sharks suffered an early blow when full-back Odwa Ndungane retired injured with SP Marais replacing the veteran.
camped in opposition territory for the first quarter of the game and
dominating possession, the Bulls fell behind on 18 minutes to a Zeilinga
Zeilinga missed another shot at goal before Springboks
2015 World Cup contender Pollard restored parity on the half-hour with
his first penalty.
The highlight of the game came on 36 minutes as
Hougaard scored after a brilliant exchange of passes with scrum-half
Rudy Paige close to the right touchline.
Pollard watched his
difficult conversion rebound off the far post and the Pretoria outfit
went into the break with an unflattering five-point lead.
spell in Bulls' half of the pitch brought early second-half reward for
the hosts as Coetzee claimed his fifth try of the season after a break
by scrum-half Cobus Reinach.
Zeilinga converted and Sharks had a
two-point advantage that lasted just four minutes before a Pollard
penalty put the visitors ahead again.
Pollard and Zeilinga fluffed penalty attempts and the impressive Paige retired hurt as the arm-wrestle rugby continued.
further two successful penalty kicks by Pollard in between a change of
half-backs by the Sharks brought a dour affair to a close.
have a bye next weekend while the Bulls face another tough South African
derby away to sixth-place Stormers in Cape Town.
Sharks: Tries: Marcell Coetzee Conversion: Fred Zeilinga Penalties: Fred Zeilinga
Bulls: Tries: Francois Hougaard , Penalties: Handre Pollard (4)
15. Odwa Ndungane, 14. S'bura Sithole, 13. Waylon Murray, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Renaldo Bothma, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Marco Wentzel (captain), 4. Mouritz Botha, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Monde Hadebe, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20. Etienne Oosthuizen, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Lionel Cronje, 23. SP Marais
15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morne Mellet, 18 Arno Botha, 19 Lappies Labuschagne, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Jurgen Visser, 23 Trevor Nyakane