Curwin Bosch contributed 21 points to help the Sharks beat the Blue Bulls 26-19 in their Currie Cup clash in Durban on Saturday.
The Sharks consolidate their position at the top of the log with this hard fought win at home as they continue their unbeaten run in the competition.
Bosch, playing at full-back in a Man-of-the-Match performance, continues to impress and was again instrumental in this result with a fantastic all-round performance in which he scored a try, kicked two conversions, three penalties and a drop goal for a personal haul of 21 points.
The Blue Bulls will be disappointed, but they weren't clinical enough, especially in the second half, to snatch a win. It was a scrappy game for the most part with both teams making plenty of handling errors.
It was the visitors who started the game brightly when Jamba Ulengo exploited some poor Sharks defence to dive over under the posts. Tian Schoeman added the conversion and a penalty while Bosch kicked two penalties as the visitors took a 10-6 lead.
Ruan Steenkamp's yellow card in the 32nd minute for a tip tackle swung the momentum in favour of the Sharks. They initially struggled to take advantage of their numerical advantage when first Bosch failed to convert a penalty before a poor pass killed a promising attaking move in the Bulls 22 after Philip van der Walt exploited a gap.
The try eventually came courtesy of Ruan Botha who powered over the line after a sustained periof of pressure on the Bulls defence. Bosch added the extras to make it 13-10 before he slotted a drop goal on half-time to give his side a 16-10 lead at the break.
Schoeman closed the gap to 16-13 shortly after the second half resumed but Bosch further stamped his mark on proceedings when he finished off a move which was started by Lwazi Mvovo, who broke the line before going to ground. The ball was recycled quickly before Inny Radebe put Bosch away for a well deserved five-pointer.
The Bulls never gave up and another Schoeman penalty reduced the deficit to just four points. Bosch had an opportunity in the 72nd minute to extend the lead but he pushed the penalty kick wide. However, when he got another chance a few minutes later he made no mistake.
The Bulls threatened to score a try in the dying minutes and went for the lineout after receiving a penalty deep in Sharks territory, but the home side turned the ball over to kill off the game.
Tries: Botha, Bosch
Cons: Bosch 2
Pens: Bosch 3
Drop Goal: Bosch
For Blue Bulls:
Pens: Schoeman 4
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Inny Radebe, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel (c), 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Dale Chadwick
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 John-Hubert Meyer, 18 JC Astle, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Hanco Venter, 21 S'bura Sithole, 22 Rhyno Smith
Blue Bulls: 15 Duncan Matthews, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha (c), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Nic de Jager, 19 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs, Ricus van der Hoven
TMO: Marius Jonker