Sharks too good for sloppy Bulls
The Sharks outscored a sloppy Bulls team by four tries to two and moved past their hosts into second place on the standings.
While the stats may not suggested it, the Sharks' defence was from the top shelve and was one of the key aspects in their game.
In contrast the Bulls simply made too many errors and there was also some shocking decision making from the hosts.
The Sharks made the Blue Bulls pay for an unforced error early on when a wayward offload was snapped up by the visitors, who shovelled it down the line. Wing Sibusiso Nkosi evaded a few tackles to score a well worked try in the third minute.
The Blue Bulls hit back several minutes later courtesy of inside centre Burger Odendaal. A few solid phases allowed Odendaal the space needed to sell a dummy and evade a tackle to score close to the uprights. Flyhalf Tony Jantjies conversion gave his side the lead for the first and last time in the match.
The Sharks regained the lead four minutes later when a strong line-out drive by the forwards saw hooker Franco Marais get his name on the scoreboard.
Lock Ruben van Heerden was shown a yellow card for a trip in the 26th minute, but the Sharks failed to make use of their advantage as the home team defended like men possessed.
Sharks fullback Garth April and Bulls flyhalf Tony Jantjies each kicked penalty for the only points for the rest of the half.
Inside centre Lukhanyo Am scored the opening points of the second half, in the 52nd minute, when he ran a sensational line to score untouched under the poles. April added the extras.
Jantjies and April traded penalties again, as their teams continued with their back and forth tussle.
Van Heerden made amends for his indiscretion when he burrowed over for a try with 15 minutes left on the clock, but April would have the final say of the match as he slithered through the defence to score the visitor's bonus point try and secure a 28-20 win.
Man of the match: Travis Ismaiel and Manie Libbok, on debut, made some great metres on attack. Burger Odendaal was also a big threat, as he made plenty of line-breaks. Sharks captain Ruan Botha was at his bruising best, even though he conceded a couple of unnecessary penalties. Garth April and Lukhanyo Am ran some amazing lines. However, out award goes to Sharks loose forward Jacques Vermeulen – who was by some distance the most productive player on the park.
For the Blue Bulls:
Tries: Odendaal, Van Heerden
Cons: Jantjies 2
Pens: Jantjies 2
For the Sharks:
Tries:Nkosi, Marais, Am, April
Pens: April 2
Yellow card: Ruben van Heerden (Blue Bulls, 25 – foul play, tripping an opponent)
Blue Bulls: 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Franco Naude, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Johannes Prinsloo (captain), 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Abongile Nonkontwana, 19 Shaun Adendorf, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Dries Swanepoel, 22 JT Jackson
Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Jacobus van Wyk, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Lukhanyo Am, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Inny-Christian Radebe, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (Captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schieman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 22 Odwa Ndungane.
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant referees: Stephan Geldenhuys, Morné Ferreira
TMO: Lesego Legoete