Bulls add to Sharks’ woes

2015-04-19 15:00

10(3)Sharks - 17(8)Bulls

Handré Pollard’s goal-kicking made the difference as the Bulls went to the top of the South African conference by beating the Sharks in their Super Rugby match at Kings Park Stadium in Durban last night.

Pollard goaled four of his five attempts at the posts, while Fred Zeilinga and Lionel Cronjé of the Sharks missed three penalty attempts between them.

In an error-strewn match, the big Bulls’ pack gained the ascendancy. Being forced to make a constant stream of tackles eventually proved to be too much of a hurdle for the Sharks to overcome.

The Bulls, playing in an unfamiliar all-white strip, were determined to keep the ball moving from the start.

Fly half Pollard, thanks to a sharp service from Rudy Paige, distributed the ball confidently and the Bulls immediately wrested away the upper hand in every phase.

The Sharks were forced to make almost double the tackles and, as well as the home side managed to play, the pressure was telling and the Bulls scored the game’s first try shortly before the break.

Sensing the Sharks were on the back foot, Paige broke sharply to the blindside, worked a slick one-two with Burger Odendaal to flummox the defenders before sending Francois Hougaard sprinting to the right-hand corner to seal the score with a flamboyant dive.

Any thoughts that the Sharks might be out of it were immediately dispelled after the restart as Marcell Coetzee scored a fine try.

The Sharks went hard and direct down centre field, and strong support and good off-loads sucked in or beat the defenders to clear the space for Coetzee to run to the line.

Zeilinga’s conversion made it 10-8 to the Sharks and it was game on with 35 minutes left to play.

.?Earlier in Perth, the Stormers had their backs to their own goal line for the last few minutes, but held on to beat Western Force 13-6.

In a dour game marked by plenty of kicking and very little imaginative play, a penalty try forced by the powerful Stormers scrum proved the decisive difference.

It was the Stormers’ second win on tour before returning home to take on the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday night.

.?In a weekend of upsets, the Hurricanes lost their unbeaten record by going down 24-29 to the Waratahs in Wellington. In Canberra, the Rebels pulled off a surprise 13-8 win over the Brumbies.

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