Untidy win for Sharks

2013-10-05 00:00

Replacement flyhalf Butch James kicked a pressure penalty two minutes from the final hooter to secure the win and the Sharks, who have now secured a home semi-final, head the Currie Cup log by four points with one league game — against Western Province in Durban next weekend — remaining.

While the Sharks were celebrating, Bulls’ captain Jono Ross was left ruing the late penalties that could well cost his team a place in the semi-finals.

The Sharks lost two flanks in both halves to the sin-bin — Jacques Botes after 34 minutes and Jean Deysel after 59 minutes — to repeated infringements, but somehow stayed in the contest until James kicked two penalties in the final 10 minutes to edge them ahead.

While Botes’s 10 minute suspension did not cost the Sharks any points, the loss of man-of-the-match Deysel almost did with the Bulls scoring the only try of the game in the 61st minute and while he was off the field.

Sharks captain Keegan Daniel, who was involved in an on-going debate with referee Marius van der Westhuizen in the second half, conceded after the match that poor discipline had kept the Bulls in the game.

“But I was happy with the character we showed in the last 10 minutes and it is always special to win at Loftus.”

The Bulls struggled in the lineout, conceding half-a-dozen throws to the Sharks, but the home team were stronger in the scrums, particularly in the first half.

The Sharks started strongly and Fred Zeilinga, after missing two easy penalties, kicked the next three as the Sharks dominated the opening quarter.

But the Sharks, with repeated handling errors, grew progressively more ragged and their scrum faltered badly in the second quarter as Handré Pollard kicked two penalties for the Bulls to trail 9-6 at the break.

Zeilinga stretched the lead to 12-6 early in the second half but Venter’s try took the Bulls in front (13-12). A third Pollard penalty took the Bulls four points clear but the return of the influential Deysel for the final 10 minutes allowed the Sharks to apply the late pressure for James to land the late winning touches.

SCORERS

Bulls — Try: Francois Venter Penalties: Handré Pollard (3). Conversion: Pollard.

Sharks — Penalties: Fred Zeilinga (4) and Butch James (2).

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