Sharks blow Blue Bulls away in Currie Cup

Defending Currie Cup Champions the Sharks started their 2011 Currie Cup campaign with a strong 36-15 victory over the Blue Bulls on Saturday.


New captain Keegan Daniel led from the front as the Sharks began their Currie Cup title defence with a determined bonus-point victory over the Blue Bulls in Durban on Saturday.


Daniel grabbed the fourth try for the Sharks, adding to earlier scores by fly-half Frederic Michalak, Louis Ludik and Marcell Coetzee.


The visitors’ solitary five-pointer came from flanker Derick Kuun.


Both sides were severely depleted by national call-ups, but the youngsters on show ensured the quality was still there.


The Bulls went in front after four minutes when fly-half Francois Brummer made no mistake with his penalty attempt from 40-metres out.


Sharks coach John Plumtree’s men hit straight back in the form of an opening try – Burden’s drive was held up short of the line and scrum-half Ross Cronje picked up the pieces by spreading the ball wide to Michalak to score his third Currie Cup try.


The Frenchman’s conversion kick curled in from the right touchline to put the hosts 7-3 ahead after nine minutes.


Another penalty gave Brummer a second shot at goal which he happily took.


The Bulls fly-half then put his side back in front after the first quarter when he made it three from three attempts.


A penalty conversion from Michalak put his side back in the lead before great vision from the number 10 allowed the men in black to extend their lead.


Michalak caught the visitors unaware by taking a quick penalty which he kicked across the field to an unmarked Ludik, who scored in the right-hand corner.


The conversion was missed but, Brummer returned the favour at the other end when he squandered his fourth penalty at goal.


With time running out in the first-half, Cronje’s brilliance saw him dummy near the halfway line and dash forward, before linking up with Jacques Botes and Keegan Daniel allowing Coetzee to score under the posts.


Michalak converted to make it 22-9 after the first 40 minutes.


After the restart, Blue Bulls winger Gerhard van den Heever came close to scoring but fumbled the ball on the line.


The visitors, however, came out strongly as there was no stopping Kuun as he barged through in the 46th minute, a try converted by Brummer.


Daniel restored the 13-point lead shortly after, though, when he went over for a 28th career try in the competition, with Michalak converting.


After another sustained period of pressure on attack came to nothing for the Bulls, the Frenchman made the game safe with two further penalties to seal the win.


Final Score Natal Sharks 36 Blue Bulls 15


Scorers


Sharks
Tries: Frederic Michalak, Louis Ludik, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel
Conversions: Frederic Michalak (3)
Penalties: Frederic Michalak (3).


Bulls
Tries: Derick Kuun
Conversions: Francois Brummer (1)
Penalties: Francois Brummer (3).


Teams


Sharks ;15. Stefan Terblanche , 14. Louis Ludik , 13. Marius Joubert , 12. Meyer Bosman , 11. Mark Richards , 10. Frederic Michalak , 9. Ross Cronje , 8. Keegan Daniel (Captain) , 7. Marcell Coetzee , 6. Jacques Botes , 5. Ross Skeate , 4. Anton Bresler , 3. Wiehahn Herbst , 2. Craig Burden , 1. Eugene van Staden


Replacements , 16 .Kyle Cooper , 17. Dale Chadwick , 18. Jan Andre Marais , 19. Francois Kleinhans , 20. Jacobus Reinach , 21. Jacques-Louis Potgieter , 22. Sibusiso Sithole


Blue Bulls: Jurgen Visser, Gerhard van den Heever, Stephan Dippenaar, Stefan Watermeyer, Akona Ndungane, Francois Brummer, Dustin Jinka, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Dewald Potgieter, Derick Kuun, Juandre Kruger, Fudge Mabeta, Rossouw de Klerk, Gary Botha (c), Corne Fourie.

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