Sharks blitz Bulls in Durban gala
MATCH REPORT: The Sharks produced a first-half try-feast to score a comprehensive 45-12 win over the Bulls in their South African Preparation Series outing on Friday.
In dreadful conditions, with shades of the 1995 World Cup semifinal, as staff were sweeping pools of water off the pitch before the start of the match, the Sharks outscored their opponents by seven tries to two.
Despite the trying conditions, the Sharks forwards – especially the front row – handled the ball better than most of the Bulls’ backs.
In a first-quarter onslaught, the Sharks raced into a 24-5 lead and by half-time were 31-6 up.
However, after the break, the Bulls showed far more urgency – as the Sharks’ error-count started to mount.
Despite the scrappy nature of the second half, the hosts added two tries to the five they score before the break to ease to a comfortable win.
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The home pack of forwards, anchored by their lively front row of Springbok prop Retshegofaditswe Nche and Thomas du Toit, with Fez Mbatha (hooker), dominated the collisions and the set pieces, creating a great attacking platform for their backs.
Despite the slippery conditions and pools of water everywhere on the pitch, the backs and forwards displayed slick handling skills which resulted in some beautifully crafted tries.
The Sharks scored their tries through Mbatha, Springbok captain and new recruit Siya Kolisi (flank), Marius Louw (centre) and Nche, with Boeta Chamberlain succeeding with two conversions.
Schalk Erasmus, the Bulls’ hooker, was yellow carded as a result for collapsing a try-bound driving maul.
Despite playing with just 14 men, the men from Pretoria managed to score their only try of the first half when skipper Nizaam Carr (No.8) was on hand to take a final pass following a quick counter-attack.
The visitors managed to keep the home side in check at the beginning of the second half and they took their scoring chance when centre Dawid Kellerman broke free from a couple of tackles to outpace the defence for their second try of the match, converted by the experienced flyhalf Morne Steyn (31-12).
Replacement back Rynhardt Jonker wiggled his way through a couple of big forwards towards the end, and he was followed over the whitewash barely a minute later by replacement scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba.
The visitors’ effort was also not helped by their panache for yellow cards, which saw Jan Uys (lock) and Carr sent to the cooler for cynical transgressions.
Man of the match: In the conditions the forwards were always going to be key and our award goes to the Sharks’ front row – Thomas du Toit, Fezokuhle Mbatha and Retshegofaditswe Nche – mostly for their amazing skills with the ball in hand. They also did some yeoman work around the park.
For the Sharks
Tries: Mbatha, Penalty try, Kolisi, Louw, Nche, Jonker, Nohamba
Cons: Chamberlain 3, Nohamba, penalty try does not require a conversion
For the Bulls
Tries: Carr, Kellerman
Yellow cards: Schalk Erasmus (Bulls, 8 – cynical foul, collapsing maul), Jan Uys (Bulls, 70 – repeated infringements, jumping across the line at line-out), Nizaam Carr (Bulls, 71 – cynical foul, killing the ball at the tackle)
Sharks: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Henco Venter 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 5 Emile van Heerden, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Fezokuhle Mbatha, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Rynhardt Jonker, 23 Aphelele Fassi
Bulls: 15 Richard Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Dawid Kellerman, 11 Diego Appollis, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Nizaam Carr (captain), 7 Tim Agaba, 6 Werner Gouws, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Jan Uys, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Raynard Roets, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 Jay-Cee Nel.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron, Ashleigh Murray
TMO: Stuart Berry