Sharks dismantle the Bulls
The Cell C Sharks showed more poise, patience and clinical finishing to beat the Vodacom Blue Bulls 26-10 in their opening Currie Cup clash at Jonsson Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
The Sharks scored four tries to just one for the visitors who will come away from Durban rueing a number of missed opportunities through hasty decision-making and poor handling despite enjoying more than their fair share of territory and possession.
By contrast, the Sharks took most of their opportunities – with fullback Curwin Bosch scoring the try of the match – and impressed throughout with their tigerish tackling and overall defensive setup.
The Sharks were on the board after five minutes, with prop Juan Schoeman using his strength to force his way over the line after a period in which the home team applied consistent pressure. The Bulls then took the lead, first through a penalty from flyhalf Manie Libbok, and then through a try from Springbok centre Jesse Kriel, playing his first Currie Cup match in four years, who burst over the line near the left-hand corner flag after the Bulls punched a hole in the Sharks’ defence.
The Bulls should have added another try shortly afterwards but a desperate tackle turned the ball over on the Sharks’ line and in a brilliant counter-attack the home team swept down the field before a looping pass from scrumhalf Louis Schreuder released Bosch who received the ball on the burst before diving over.
Thus the Bulls, instead of taking the lead, now trailed 14-10 and they were hit again just shy of halftime when wing Kobus van Wyk cleverly beat two men after fast hands delivered the ball to him on the Bulls 22.
The story of the first half was repeated in the second with the Bulls continuing to cough up ball at key moments. There were also three tries disallowed for a variety of reasons, with Kriel being denied a second following a hairline decision by the TMO that resulted in a Sharks lineout.
Missed opportunities and harum-scarum rugby resulted in no change to the scoreboard in the third quarter, but in the 63rd minute Sharks’ Currie Cup debutant Aphelele Fassi scored with his first touch of the ball after Libbok had missed replacement scrumhalf Cameron Wright’s up-and-under. The wing duly grabbed the ball and showed electric pace to dive over spectacularly in the right hand corner. The winger was then denied a brace when he received what was adjudged to be a forward pass from Lwazi Mvovo before dashing over.
Cell C Sharks (21) 26 Vodacom Blue Bulls (10) 10
Tries: Juan Schoeman, Curwin Bosch, Kobus van Wyk, Aphelele Fassi
Conversions: Robert du Plessis (3)
BULLS: Try: Jesse Kriel Conversion: Manie Libbok Penalty: Libbok.
SOURCED FROM THE RUGBY SA WEBSITE.