Bulls power over Sharks for first away win of the season
The Bulls played their best match of this Super Rugby campaign as they convincingly beat the Sharks by 30-17 at Kings Park Stadium in Durban on Friday night with man-of-the-match Warrick Gelant registering a hat-trick of tries.
In the process, the men from Pretoria, who have struggled horribly, registered their first away win while at the same time they handed the Sharks their first defeat at home in Durban this season in the competition.
In the bigger scheme of things, the loss does not hurt the Sharks too much as they remain in the knockout stage places with 41 points from 14 matches but for the Bulls the victory is meaningless as they are out of contention to progress to the next round.
Nic de Jager touched down after seven minutes for his third Super Rugby try of the season after they easily benefited from a poor lineout from the Sharks but debutant Tony Jantjies could not increase their lead as his conversion ricocheted from the upright pole.
Sharks registered their name on the score-sheet through a try by the big Thomas du Toit that was easily converted by Curwin Bosch as they benefited from putting their visitors under pressure after 17 minutes.
Sharks celebrations for their first try was short-lived as a turnover from a knock on by Garth April allowed the bulls to link up on the left wing before Gelant went on to score under the poles for his third Super Rugby try and an easy conversion by Tiaan Schoeman.
Sharks pulled three points back from a penalty by Bosch after 25 minutes but a minute later Bulls increased their lead when Gelant registered his second try of the night after he received the ball from Jan Serfontein.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, an opportunity to further increase their lead went begging as Schoeman, who was an early replacement for Jantjies at fly-half, missed the resultant conversion.
The first half ended on a sour note with Bulls leading 17-10 when Sharks hooker Franco Marais was stretched off the field with concussion after he collided with Lizo Gqoboka and he was replaced by Chiliboy Ralepelle.
Bulls started the second half on a good note by building scoreboard pressure when Schoeman scored a penalty in the 44th minute and it got worse for the Sharks as Sibusiso Nkosi received his first yellow card of the season for playing an opponent in the air a few moments later.
With Nkosi still in the bin, the Sharks narrowed the lead to just three points when Bosch, who was playing at fullback, touched down and also converted after a quick throw by Lourens Adriaanse caught the Bulls napping.
A few moments later, the Bulls were at their best again with Gelant registering his hat-trick on the night after he was released by the experienced Serfontein who floated a delightful pass on his path.
Schoeman stood up to convert as the Bulls increased their lead to 27-17 and in the 71st minute he scored his second penalty of the night after the Sharks were penalised for not releasing the ball and there were no further scorers on the night.
Sharks: (10) 17
Tries: Du Toit, Bosch
Conversions: Bosch (2)
Yellow Card: Nkosi
Bulls: (17) 30
Tries: De Jager, Gelant (3)
Conversions: Schoeman (2)
Penalties: Schoeman (2)