Bulls see off Sharks in Pretoria
The Bulls outscored their opponents by five tries to three in what was an entertaining game of rugby.
The win moves the Bulls above the Sharks and the Stormers in the South African Conference.
It was the Sharks who challenged the scoreboard first as fullback Curwin Bosch crossed the whitewash but his efforts were disallowed due to his tripping of fullback Warrick Gelant in the build-up and was shown a yellow card for his efforts.
The Bulls made good use of the resulting penalty as the ball was shuffled down the line to outside centre Jesse Kriel who grubbered the pill past the defence to a flying Gelant who scored a converted try.
Kriel continued his fine form as he received the final pass and brushed off a defender to score moments later.
The visitors got onto the board courtesy of Bosch who received an offload in the 23rd minute. Flyhalf Robert du Preez converted to cut the deficit to five points.
The men in light blue were not done with scoring tries as wing Travis Ismaiel did well to stay infield long enough for flank Roelof Smit to scoop up the ball and score.
The Bulls found themselves on the wrong side of the referee as lock Rudolph Snyman was sin binned for a late tackle and the Sharks capitalised on their advantage as flank Jacques Vermeulen scored a converted try.
Pollard and Bosch traded penalties in the dying minutes of the first half as the teams headed to the sheds with the Vodacom Bulls leading 22-17.
The Sharks started the second half like a house on fire as Du Preez sunk two penalty goals to take the lead for the first time but his efforts were nullified as wing Johnny Kotze received a pop pass from Gelant to score in the corner in the 55th minute.
The visitors suffered their second yellow card of the match as outside centre Lukhanyo Am was ordered off after tackling a player in the air.
Lock Lodewyk de Jager scored the Bulls' fifth try as he used his tall timber to reach out and score in the 67th minute. Pollard converted and added a penalty to gift his team a 39-23 lead with 11 minutes left on the clock.
Springbok flank Jean-Luc continued the ding dong affair as he dotted down a minute later as the Sharks registered third third try.
Kriel almost bagged his brace only to be denied by the TMO for an earlier infringement in the 75th minute.
With the clock run out, the Sharks slotted a penalty to earn a bonus point as the Bulls secured the win.
Man of the match: Armand van der Merwe was an absolute beast in the game and deserves the award.
Tries: Gelant, Kriel, Smit, Kotze, De Jager
Cons: Pollard 4
Pens: Pollard 2
Tries: Bosch, Vermeulen, JL Du Preez
Cons: R du Preez 3
Pens: R du Preez 3, Bosch
Yellow cards: Curwin Bosch (Sharks, 10 – cynical play, trip); Rudolph Snyman (Bulls, 33 – foul play, late charge); Lukhanyo Am (Sharks, 67 – foul play, tackling an opponent in the air.
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 John-Ben Kotze, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marco van Staden, 7 Jason Jenkins, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Frans van Wyk, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Nicholas de Jager, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Archie Sehlako (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)