VIDEO: Sharks hurting after being 'manhandled'
REACTION: It was almost a case of men against boys at Loftus Versfeld this past weekend, as the Bulls overtook the Sharks in the race for a place in the Rainbow Cup Final.
The Bulls recorded a bonus-point 43-9 win in Pretoria, moving to top spot in the South African conference.
Sharks coach Sean Everitt admitted that the Bulls were physically superior to his team, in what was the contest between SA’s two most impressive sides this year.
The Sharks coach said his team ‘fired all the shots’ in the first half, when they dominated possession and territory – which saw them trailing just 9-12 at the break.
However, the Bulls dominated the second half and scored 31 unanswered points, including four tries, to power to a comprehensive victory.
The men from Pretoria got a full house of five log points for their efforts and moved three points past the Durbanites at the top of the ladder.
“The Bulls’ forwards were outstanding in the second half and physically dominated the Sharks,” Everitt said.
“We conceded penalties and lost possession in good areas of the field. We struggled to stop the Bulls’ maul and they earned penalty after penalty.”
He said the enormous effort on defence in the second half ‘fatigued’ his team.
“When you go backwards and conceding penalties, it will be a tough day at the office,” the Sharks coach said.
He added that there is still a lot of rugby to be played in the competition – with games against the Stormers (Kings Park), the Lions (Ellis Park) and the all-important return match against the Bulls in Durban on June 12.
“We are certainly not out of the race,” he said of the prospect of finishing top of the SA standings – which brings with it an opportunity to play in the Final against the top-finishing Pro14 team.
The organisers of the two-tiered Rainbow Cup competition last week revealed that planning is at an ‘advanced stage’ to play an historic North versus South Final on June 19 – ensuring the dual tournaments, operating in Europe and South Africa, will produce one winner.
The Northern representative in the Final shall be the team who finishes first in the table among the 12 teams in the Pro14 Rainbow Cup, while the Southern representative shall be the side who ranks first in the Rainbow Cup SA competition.
The Final will take place in Europe.
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“We are still in a really good position,” Everitt said, adding: “The Bulls are only three points ahead of us.
“We face them at home [June 12} and we haven’t lost at home for dome time.
“It [the loss in Pretoria] id not the end of the world. You are bound to lose one when you play six consecutive SA derbies.
“We want to bounce back. We do want to win this [Rainbow Cup] competition. The guys are proud and they do have a lot of fight.
“This was a slip-up and we need to get back on track.”