Blue Bulls hold off Sharks in Durban

Date published: September 25 2015

The Blue Bulls returned to their winning ways after notching a much needed 17-13 victory over the Sharks in Durban on Friday.

As the scoreline suggests, this was a tight tussle and the Bulls were made to work hard before securing the result which is their first triumph in the competition since Round Five. 

The visitors outscored their hosts by two tries to one and the boot of Tian Schoeman ensured the Bulls could claim their sixth victory of the season.

Tries either side of half-time from Jamba Ulengo and Deon Stegmann saw Blue Bulls claw their way back into proceedings after the Sharks held a 6-3 lead deep into the first half.

The opening half was highlighted by plenty of handling errors from both sides and two penalties from Joe Pietersen and one from Schoeman meant there was little excitement in the first half.

The game came alive in the 35th minute when Warrick Gelant gathered a loose ball inside his half and tore the home side's defence to shreds with a sniping break before Paul Jordaan brought him to ground inside the Sharks' 22.

Although they didn't manage to round that move off, the Bulls were now on the attack inside the Sharks' 22. They were soon rewarded for their efforts when Ulengo got over for the game's opening try.

This after Arno Botha's progress was halted deep inside the home side's 22 after a barnstorming run in the build-up. The Bulls recycled quickly and got the ball out to Jacques du Plessis. The big lock offloaded to Ulengo who waltzed over for an easy score.

Schoeman added the extras which meant the Bulls led 10-6 at the interval. 

The visitors upped the ante after the break and after a drive from a lineout on the Sharks' five-metre line, Stegmann barged over for a deserved five-pointer.

The Sharks struck back when replacement back Garth April got their only try shortly afterwards. April showed great awareness as he booted a chip kick from Michael Claassens ahead, before regathering and dotting down to the delight of the home crowd.

Pietersen slotted the conversion and had a chance to narrow the gap to a point, from the kicking tee in the 67th minute, but his effort struck an upright.

The Sharks gave their all in a bid to secure victory in the dying moments but a solid defensive effort from the Bulls kept them at bay.

The scorers:

For Sharks:

Try: April
Con: Pietersen
Pens: Pietersen 2

For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Ulengo, Stegmann
Cons: Schoeman 2
Pen: Schoeman

Sharks: 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 Wandile Mjekevu, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 S'bura Sithole, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Philip van der Walt (c), 7 Christiaan de Bruin, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Dave McDuling, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit. 
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper , 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Marco Wentzel , 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Heimar Williams, 22 Garth April.

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (captain), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Ruan Steenkamp, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Dries Swanepoel

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen