Currie Cup

Bomb Squad 2.0: How Arno Botha and the Bulls bench buried Sharks

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Chris Smith holding the Currie Cup trophy.
Chris Smith holding the Currie Cup trophy.
(Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
  • The Bulls needed two muscular Arno Botha knockout blows to floor a stubborn Sharks side and win a Currie Cup final that went deep into extra-time.
  • Jake White took pride in the Bulls using each squad member during the season, after his bench added an extra gear to secure victory.
  • The Bulls overturned a 19-9 deficit to win 26-19 at Loftus on Saturday.

In the end, the Bulls needed two muscular Arno Botha knockout blows to floor a stubborn Sharks side and win a Currie Cup final that went deep into extra-time.

The replacement flank was part of the Bulls "Bomb Squad 2.0", a contingent that picked apart a tiring and error-riddled Sharks team in the last quarter and one they finished off in extra-time.

READ | Jake White hails Bulls comeback spirit

Even though flyhalf Chris Smith, who came on for Morne Steyn, spurned a penalty kick to win the game for the Bulls at the full-time hooter, White reserved lavish praise for his role players in the victory.

"One of the nice things we've done is give Chris Smith lots of game time," said White.

"If you consider the other teams, they’ve generally picked their No 10s to play the full 80 minutes in every match.

"He kicked the winner at Newlands against Western Province. I know he missed a penalty (at the full-time hooter) but I felt that the time we gave our bench throughout the year was always going to be a telling factor, especially when it went to extra-time.

"They got composure and comfort from the fact that they’ve been on the field many times this season and that this wasn’t the only game where they’ve come back to earn us a win.

"It’s something we've been very happy about."

The Sharks had ample opportunity to win the game but flyhalf Curwin Bosch lost his kicking radar on the worst occasion, missing five penalty attempts, including one in extra-time.

The misses seemed to deflate his Sharks teammates with each one that missed the target.

AS IT HAPPENED | Bulls 26-19 Sharks

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 30: Try time from

The Durbanites eventually tired and the Bulls grew in belief, running a 19-phase move to set up Botha’s winning score in the match’s 98th minute.

The game finished 26-19 in the hosts' favour.

"We were fortunate that we had fresh guys at the back end of the game," said White.

"I’m sure they felt pressure but I felt comfortable that I could put them onto the field – Chris Smith, Mornay Smith, Arno Botha, Jan Uys and all those guys who had some game time.

"The biggest excitement and learning curve for me was that we used our squad.

"Every 42-player squad member has played some rugby this year and played some sort of minutes.

"That makes it special, because you go to the changeroom now and there won’t be anyone sitting there thinking 'it’s not my Currie Cup'.

"Every guy has been part of it, whether it’s been half a game, 10 minutes or starting on rotation.

"Everyone feels like they contributed and that’s what you want.

"You want to get to the end of a campaign and you want everyone to feel like they’re a part of it."

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