Sharks rule at Loftus

Date published: September 20 2014

The Sharks outscored the Blue Bulls two to tries to none as they claimed a 26-15 Currie Cup win at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Sharks outscored the Blue Bulls two to tries to none as they claimed a 26-15 Currie Cup win at Loftus Versfeld 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 Sharks led 13-12 at the interval thanks to an intercept try from Springbok wing Lwazi Mvovo before S'bura Sithole touched down in the second period to help the Sharks climb to third in the standings.

The result puts a serious dent in 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' line-out 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.

Jacques-Louis Potgieter kicked all of the Bulls' points via five penalties but the home side never really threatened the tryline.

Potgieter slotted two early penalties to put the Bulls 6-0 up but Sharks full-back SP Marais landed two monster kicks from over 50m to level the scores after 15 minutes.

Potgieter kept the scoreboard ticking with two more three-pointers to take the scores to 12-6 on the half-hour mark, but the Sharks would strike, against the run of play, just before the break.

With the Bulls on the attack, just inside their half, Mvovo intercepted a pass from Burger Odendaal before racing away to score the game's opening try.

Sharks fly-half Lionel Cronje had failed with two attempts at goal already but found the target with the conversion to put the Sharks in the lead for the first time as the teams swapped ends.

The visitors bagged their second try soon after the restart as Cronje's cross-field kick found Sithole on the touchline and the wing finished clinically to cap a period of sustained pressure from the men in black and white.

Cronje's conversion from out wide and another penalty a few minutes later put the Sharks clear at 23-12 going into the final quarter.

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 line-out 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.

Potgieter and Cronje exchanged penalties in the final ten minutes to keep the gap at 11 points and despite a lot of pressure from the Bulls, the scores remained unchanged until fulltime.

The scorers:

For Blue Bulls:
Pens: Potgieter 5

For Sharks:
Tries: Mvovo, Sithole
Cons: Cronje 2
Pens: S. Marais 2

Blue Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross (c), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.

Sharks: 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 (capt), 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 JC Astle, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Johan Meyer, 19 Khaya Majola, 20 Hanco Venter, 21 Tim Swiel, 22 Tonderai Chavhanga.

Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Cobus Wessels
TMO: Johan Greeff