The Bulls consolidated their position at the top of the Super 14 table on Saturday with a gritty 27-19 win over the Sharks in Pretoria.
Games between these sides are always hard-fought and this was no exception as the old rivals went at it tooth and nail.
In the end the Bulls' patience paid off as they extended their unbeaten streak at Loftus Versfeld to seventeen games! The Sharks' hopes of making the semi-finals have now come to an end.
The Bulls played their classic game of percentage rugby as they gradually built pressure until the Sharks defence could hold no more.
In soaking wet conditions, the boots of opposing fly-halve Andy Goode and MornÚ Steyn were given a solid work out.
Neither side was able to cross the whitewash in the first half, but there was no lack of big hits as the Sharks took the game to their hosts with some ferocious rucking.
Goode opened the scoring after six minutes from the kicking tee and gave the Sharks a 6-0 lead five minutes later. Steyn got the Bulls on the scoreboard after fifteen minutes.
The opposing number tens traded penalties until half time with the Sharks leading 12-19 at the break.
The Bulls dominated the second half, but it took them nearly twenty minutes to level the scores. After missing one early in the half, Steyn slotted a penalty to make the scores 12-12.
But that score was catalyst for the Bulls to break clear as Wynand Olivier and Zane Kirchner linked up in sweeping move started near halfway to put Jacques-Louis Potgieter over for the game's first try.
Steyn added another penalty with a little more than ten minutes left to open up a ten-point gap before a clever cross-field kick from Fourie du Preez sealed the Sharks' fate.
Kirchner rose high to bump it back, Francois Hougaard couldn't hold on but Gerhard van den Heever was on hand to grab the lose ball and dive into the corner.
Rory Kockott made a sniping run with five minutes left to play to score and add some intrigue to the final minutes, but the horse, or should I say Bull, had bolted.
Man of the match: In wet conditions, the forwards are always going to rule the show and Pierre Spies made plenty of devastating runs, but Gary Botha wins our gong for his tireless work in the tight-lose and accurate line-out throwing.
For the Bulls:
Tries: J-L. Potgieter, Van den Heever
Pens: Steyn 5
For the Sharks:
Pens: Goode 4
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 MornÚ Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthr÷ Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Bees Roux, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Derick KuŘn, 20 Heini Adams, 21 Stephan Dippenaar, 22 Pedrie Wannenburg.
Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanche, 12 Riaan Swanepoel, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit, 1Tendai Mtawarira (c).
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 , 18 Alistair Hargreaves, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Ryan Kankowski, 22 Luzuko Vulindlu.