Sharks dismiss Bulls in spiteful Durban derby
URC MATCH REPORT: Bulls coach Jake White’s pre-match prediction proved to be prophetic, as the Springbok-laden Sharks beat his team 30-16 on Durban on Friday.
Trailing 9-13 at half-time, the Sharks’ big-name Boks stepped up and they dominated the second half.
There was plenty of feeling, which at times spilt over into spiteful behaviour, from the first kick-off. Experienced referee Jaco Peyper needed only 20 minutes before losing patience and having a chat to both teams about the ‘lack of respect both teams showed towards the match officials.
The Sharks’ Springbok-laden pack had the better of the Bulls in the set pieces, especially in the scrums – which resulted in a string of penalties and eventually a yellow card for replacement Bulls prop Lizo Gqoboka.
The spiteful nature of the game continued, as the frustration levels rose and the tempers threatened to boil over.
However, the Sharks just had too much class for the visitors and their star power saw them well clear in the end.
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The win for the hosts also marked the United Rugby Championship’s debut on South African soil.
David Kriel touched down against the run of play as the Bulls took a 13-9 lead into half-time, but skipper Lukhanyo Am’s terrific intercept try and Kerron van Vuuren’s late touchdown helped the Sharks pick up their second win of the season.
Am was one of several Springboks returning to a strong Sharks side for a Round 12 clash brought forward following the postponement of cross-hemisphere clashes in South Africa in Rounds Six and Seven, with Siyamthanda Kolisi and Makazole Mapimpi also among those making their first URC outings.
Henry Chamberlain kicked 20 points for the Sharks, while Morne Steyn racked up 11 for the visitors at Jonsson Kings Park, which hosted 2,000 fans for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Sibusiso Nkosi squandered the Sharks’ first real sight of the tryline, having dusted himself down after sustaining an apparent shoulder injury in making a crunching tackle on Madosh Tambwe.
Chamberlain missed an opportunity to open the scoring from the tee before Nkosi spilled the ball as he looked to touch down in the corner after a kick forward from Am had sparked a period of Sharks pressure on the Bulls’ line.
The home flyhalf did put three points on the board with a straightforward penalty as the match approached the 20-minute mark, but the Bulls scored the game’s opening try with their first meaningful attack thanks to Kriel’s stretch for the line, with Steyn adding the extras.
Steyn and Chamberlain then traded a pair of kicks apiece to send the Bulls in with a four-point lead at half-time.
Chamberlain dragged a penalty wide of the posts early in the second period, but he reduced the deficit to a single point with his next attempt and was on target again after Am superbly intercepted a Steyn pass to charge half the length of the field and under the posts, opening up a 19-13 lead.
Steyn pulled the Bulls back within three in the 57th minute, but Chamberlain kicked two more penalties either side of Lizo Gqoboka being sin-binned for collapsing a scrum, and two more misses mattered little as Van Vuuren went over from a driving maul to put 14 points between the teams.
Player of the match
Few could argue with the awarding of the individual honour to Am.
From a kick that almost led to Nkosi opening the scoring in the first half, to an intercept try that swung the game in the Sharks’ favour, Am was the stand-out player.
No man boasted more successful carries (six) or clean breaks (two) than the centre, while he also racked up more metres gained (116) than anyone else, although the run that led to his try accounted for a fair chunk of the latter stat.
Play of the match
It’s a double for Am as his interception of Steyn’s pass before running half the length of the field to touch down under the posts was the move of the match and one that marked a change of gear for the Sharks.
For the Sharks
Tries: Am, Van Vuuren
Pens: Chamberlain 6
For the Bulls
Try: D Kriel
Pens: Steyn 3
Yellow card: Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls, 65 – repeated infringements, collapsed scrum)
Sharks: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Henry Chamberlain, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Phendulani Buthelezi, 7 Jeandré Labuschagne, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 23 Werner Kok.
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Richard Kriel, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Robert Hunt, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Lizo Gqoboka, 19 Jacques du Plessis, 20 Sintu Manjezi, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Stedman Gans.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Aimee Barret-Theron (South Africa), Paul Mente (South Africa)
TMO: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
- Additional reporting by @URCOfficial