Bulls bring an end to Sharks unbeaten run

The Bulls ended the Sharks unbeaten run in Super Rugby with a 23-19 victory over the Durban franchise at Loftus Versfeld.

The result means that every team in Super Rugby has now lost at least one match this season.

Earlier in the season the Sharks beat the Bulls 31-16 in Durban and this match was the Sharks first match away from home.

A true battle of attrition ensued between the Sharks and the Bulls with the
visitors winning the early exchanges of the match.

It was a typical derby between these two arch-rivals with the match starting
at a fast pace with bruising hits.

The Sharks were dealt an early double blow, when the halfback pairing of Pat
Lambie and Cobus Reinach left the field injured within the first five minutes
and were replaced by Tim Swiel and Charl McLeod respectively.

However, it did not deter the coastal team as flanker Willem Alberts crashed
over for his side’s first try of the evening in the eighth minute, with Swiel
converting.

Bulls pivot Jacques-Louis Potgieter pulled back three points for his side when
he converted a penalty in the 15th minute.

At the turn of the first quarter of the match, Potgieter added another three
points through a drop goal for a one-point deficit.

Sharks centre Frans Steyn’s long-distance place-kicking again proved valuable
for his side as he sent a 55 metre punt through the middle of the uprights four
minutes before the break.

On the 40 minute mark Steyn added another three points to the score sheet,
this time placing the ball just inside the Bulls’ half to give his side a seven-point
lead going into the half-time recess.

Seven minutes into the second half, the Bulls found the breakthrough when hard-working
flanker Jacques du Plessis dotted down.

After he had taken the ball into contact, he broke loose from a Bismarck du
Plessis tackle to find an open tryline, with Potgieter converting to level the
scores 13-13.

The hosts went into the lead for the first time in the match when centre JJ
Engelbrecht crossed the whitewash in the left-hand corner.

Following an initial break by winger Bjorn Basson, the ball was sent wide where
it bounced once for Engelbrecht to trot over for the try without any defenders
to hassle him. Potgieter converted the try to hand his side a seven-point lead.

The Sharks, however, did not back down with Steyn, who made a nuisance of himself
throughout the match, playing a significant part for his side.

Steyn slotted two penalty conversions in the 67th and 70th minutes to set up
a tense end to the gripping match with a single point separating the sides.

Glory, nevertheless, belonged to the Bulls as replacement flyhalf Handre Pollard
added a penalty conversion in the 79th minute.

Final Score Bulls 23 (6) Sharks 19 (13)

Scorers

Bulls
Tries – J. Du Plessis, JJ.Engelbrecht
Pen – J. Potgieter, H.Pollard
Con – J.Potgieter 2
Drop – J.Potgieter
Cards –

Sharks
Tries – W.Alberts
Pen – F.Steyn 4
Con – T.Swiel
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee:
Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1:Craig Joubert
Assistant Ref 2:Jaco van Heerden
TMO : Deon van Blommenstein

Teams

Bulls

Jurgen Visser , Sampie Mastriet , JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein , Bjorn Basson , Jacques-Louis Potgieter , Francois Hougaard , Dewald Potgieter , Jacques du Plessis , Deon Steg

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