Sharks knock Blue Bulls out of Currie Cup

The Sharks knocked the Champion Blue Bulls out of the Currie Cup when they beat them by 16 points to 12 in Durban setting up a final against the Free State Cheetahs or Western Province.

The first Absa Currie Cup Semi-final between the Sharks and the Blue Bulls at the Absa Stadium in Durban, was delayed due to a swarm of bees that gathered on the field on Saturday.

Kickoff was delayed by 45 minutes.

The result means that the Sharks will host this year’s Currie Cup final  in Durban.


In a typically brutal semifinal, the home side showed great composure under the immense pressure exerted from their opponents as the Bulls desperately tried to score what would have been a match winning try in the closing stages of the match.


But the match winner was not the only try that eluded the visitors who failed to score a single five-pointer in the contest.


The match started 40 minutes late as ground-staff first had to deal with a swarm of bees that decided to settle on the pitch.


However, the wait turned out to be well worth it for the local supporters as it took flank Keegan Daniel only three minutes to open the scoring when he dived over for the first and only try of the match.


Flyhalf Patrick Lambie converted and the Sharks were off to a perfect start.


The coastal challengers made their intentions clear from the start as they opted for a direct approach which brought big ball carriers like flank Willem Alberts and lock Steven Sykes into play at regular intervals.


The Sharks succeeded in starving the Bulls of possession for the entire first quarter, but credit must go to last year’s champions for their commitment in defence.


Surprisingly, the visitors preferred kicking away the little possession they had.


Minutes after wing JP Pietersen had to leave the field through injury, the Bulls finally managed to build momentum which brought them within inches of scoring a try.


Their build-up did not bear as much fruit as the home side’s, however, and the visitors had to settle for three points that came through a penalty conversion by flyhalf Morne Steyn.


With some points on the board, the Bulls gained in confidence, but the Sharks nonetheless made better use of their chances.


Lambie and Steyn exchanged penalties as both sides struggled to find their feet at the fiercely contested breakdowns.


Both scrums were blown-up for illegal scrumming and the Bulls, traditionally superior in the lineouts, were below par in the set pieces.


Hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle failed to find his jumpers, which would have been disheartening for the number two who was outstanding in general play.


Meanwhile, the Sharks used players like Alberts and eighthman Ryan Kankowski with great effect and they were able to get over the advantage line with far less effort.


With clouds looming all day, the heavens eventually opened, adding more spice to the closely contested battle.


The Bulls thought the wet conditions would assist their tactical kicking game, but in Lambie and skipper Stefan Terblanche, who were flawless under the high-ball, the Sharks stood their ground and kept turnovers to the minimum.


Both sides only managed two penalties in the second half after the Sharks enjoyed a 10-6 lead at the break.


Final Score Sharks 16 Blue Bulls 12





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