SR: Vodacom Bulls 23, Cell C Sharks 19

imagesThe big questions is: Can anyone beat the Sharks?

The Bulls believe they can, if they play to their true potential – more like their performance against the Blues a fortnight ago. However, they are up against a team blessed with having two genuine playmakers in their backline in Pat Lambie and Francois Steyn. The Sharks have shown they can play both an expansive game and handle a gruelling forward battle up front. A trip up to Pretoria looks to be their toughest test to date, although they did record a comprehensive 15-point victory over the three-time champions in Round One this year.

Back on track after two straight victories in the opening weeks, the Bulls have shown they might not be a spent force in Super Rugby after all. Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White admitted they are looking forward to finally playing on a dry field on the Highveld – after some testing and humid conditions in all four their home games. “I don’t think anybody can say we are conservative, given that we have scored the second most tries in the competition,” White told this website in an interview. The Sharks have scored 12 tries in their four games, and conceded five – with only the Blues, in 11th place and Hurricanes in 12th place who have more, both scored 13 in the same number of games.

“Our outside backs have scored 80 percent of our tries,” the Sharks boss said. “To get up there on the Highveld, with a nice hard field, and be able to move the ball around is something we are looking forward to.” The Bulls are determined to kick on from their two recent wins. “For us every game is important,” coach Frans Ludeke told this website.

“We are up against a team in good form, playing good rugby and unbeaten,” he said, adding: “That makes the challenge so much more interesting. “However, we have to put the past [last four games] behind us and come up with an 80-minute effort. “We are at home and must win if we want to have a say in the competition.” While a lot has happened since the Sharks beat the Bulls in Durban in Week One, Ludeke admitted some tough lessons were learnt from that outing.

“Our reaction at the breakdown was slow and our ball carriers turned over too much possession at the breakdown – that put us under pressure,” he said. “We created opportunities, but were disappointed that we didn’t convert those into points. “That [converting opportunities into points] will be critical this weekend. “Discipline is another factor.

“We need to ensure we are on the right side of the calls in all aspects – set pieces, breakdown, etc.” Both teams have the ability to put the opposition under pressure on the scoreboard with penalties, which means dominating up front will be crucial. Both teams have lost Springbok locks to injury – Pieter-Steph du Toit out for the rest of the year with a knee injury and Flip van der Merwe for a couple of weeks with a hamstring strain.

Recent results:
2014: Sharks won 31-16, Durban
2013: Bulls won 20-19, Pretoria
2013: Bulls won 18-16, Durban
2012: Sharks won 32-10, Durban
2012: Bulls won 18-13, Pretoria
2011: Sharks won 26-23, Pretoria
2011: Bulls won 32-23, Durban

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Dewald Potgieter, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers.

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Andre Esterhuizen.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommenstein (South Africa)

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About Jacques (Bunny) 4435 Articles
Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"
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88 Comments on SR: Vodacom Bulls 23, Cell C Sharks 19

  1. Hougaardt with kick ahead and Lambie take high ball…..maul once and kick a high one on Bulls which Sharks knock on……

    Scrum Bulls outside their own 22…..

    Penalty Bulls and Jannie binds on the arm…..

    Bulls kick out for lineout inside Sharks half of the field

    ReplyReply
  2. Be the first time i see the sharks play live. Want to see if Jake is doing anything new/interesting or has he just been winning against a few weaker teams at home in a very favourable draw?
    ReplyReply
  3. Bulls keep playing their territory game….which I believe is stupid with Frans Steyn in the Sharks team….9 out of 10 they will loose a kicking dual with him……

    Buls however gets inside Sharks 22 with nice backline move….

    Penalty and they go for poles……

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  4. Sharks goes with short passes with Bulls taken the ball off …..Bulls kick down field and Sharks run the ball…great defence from Bulls to turn ball over just to loose the ball while he goes for the gap…..

    This Bulls team has come to play

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  5. Sharks kick deep from scrum……

    Bulls runs it back but Sharks turn it over and kick down field just for Visser to kick the ball out …..

    Sharks lineout just outside Bulls 22….

    Sharks go on attack….

    Alberts loose the ball and Bulls attack from deep……

    Bulls goes through phases juts too loose the ball in a bad pass….Scrum Sharks in their half of the field…..

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  6. Sharks with a rare lineout win……

    Bulls gets penalty in breakdown for holding on from Sharks….

    It is all Bulls at this stage……Kicking for lineout in Sharks 22……..

    Bulls run from lineout……

    turnover from Sharks and they kick down field…….Bulls in a little bit of trouble but Bulls kick out through Visser

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  7. Referee do not check the foot up from sharks in scrum……..

    Sharks get penalty for Bulls player off their feet in ruck…..

    Steyn goes for points from his own half…….

    Steyn kick OVER!!!!!’

    Bulls now lead 20-19

    ReplyReply
  8. Sharks doing all the paly now and Bulls defend for all they worth…..

    Sharks spill the ball and Bulls kick through…..Sharks kick down field….

    Bulls put high ball up and Sharks knock the ball ….4 min left…..

    ReplyReply
  9. Sharks push Bulls off the ball but Bulls take ball off……

    Pollard goes for drop but Bulls get penalty ….will this sink the Sharks with 2 min to go……

    Pollard to kick the penalty…..

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  10. Sharks on attack…..

    Penalty Sharks on half way and Steyn goes for the line on Bulls 22…time almost up……

    Sharks take lineout…….

    Bulls turn over and times up and Bulls beat the Sharks!!!!!!

    ReplyReply
  11. Zee Bulls @ home in the Death Star & with the aid of their fans the “Legion of Doom” beat back “The Maestro” Jake White & his weary C-Cells.
    Good win for Zee Bulls & Frans Ludeke is a happy camper
    ReplyReply
  12. Brilliant games of Rugga today from South African team…first Lions beating the Reds from behind and then the Bulls win against the Sharks against all believe…

    Sure the Superbru points this weekend is low for most supporters

    ReplyReply
  13. Can’t wait till these two behemouths of SA rugby face off again.
    I want Jake to amp up double drama Aldo….
    Just to get your goat.
    Yes this is sport but its also entertainment. Jake’s yapping adds to the atmosphere
    ReplyReply
  14. I got really worried towards the end, it seemed as if Steyn was going to take this game and wrestle it back for the sharks
    ReplyReply
  15. Haha americano, it adds to it yes and makes it so much better when we do win.

    Bunny I dont really drink anymore so I’ll have a long coffee on them.

    ReplyReply
  16. Anyone thinking these guys only play for money, have a look again at that Steyn interview. That is what it means to these guys. Hats of to him.
    ReplyReply
  17. I am very concerned that the big names in SA Rugby are still for the most part the stand-out performers. Burger has a great few games, Vic doing very well, Frans back to form, JPP back in there etc etc.

    That golden generation won 1 world cup, but almost 10 years later we dont seem to generate the kind of players to once more dominate world rugby?

    ReplyReply
  18. In contrast the pesky Ozzies are once more doing a lot with very little.

    And if a few injuries strike, HM will have to make do with very little…

    ReplyReply
  19. Guys we overrate our coaching and our talent ID systems, not to mention our development of players. Yes we have loads of players, but the mere fact that we still talk about the Steyns and Burgers and Matfields at this stage is proof enough that the well is drying.
    ReplyReply
  20. @Cheetah Glory:

    Steyn is 26 Brendon!!!!

    twenty f***king six….

    Liewe f**ken hel…

    At that age your favorite recipient of a Brendon-blowjob, BOD, was considered a beginner

    Why should we not be talking about him… and in the absence of the likes of PSD and Etzebeth Matfield is the man… and to be perfectly honest he is the best lock in the whole SR so far not just SA… and to be perfectly honest Paul Willemse showed he has bulked and he added big oomph to the Bulls this week…

    But yes in other respects there can be no doubt the well is drying…

    Just not in terms of the kak you’re talking.

    ReplyReply
  21. Dawie you have too much anger for a public forum. Rather go talk race politics on twitter with your inbred mates.
    ReplyReply
  22. Does not matter how old Steyn is – he is part of a previous generation of players who for some reason cannot be surpassed 8 years later.

    Were we just THAT good then, or are we doing something wrong?

    And yes, Ireland have HUGE issues now at 13 because they now have that gap to fill. Problem is SA seems to have 5 or 6 positions that for some reason we just cannot fill with world-beater stars.

    ReplyReply
  23. Just in case nobody noticed:
    Sharks lost both their halves in the
    first five minutes.

    As far as skills and exiting moves are concerned
    it was a very kak game, but that’s how the Saffa
    teams prefer to play.

    ReplyReply
  24. Why did Jake use Kanko today as another battering ram? Now after 3 good weeks Kanko is back to being a kak ‘ball carrier’ when he should never be used that way?
    ReplyReply
  25. Yep that ‘drying pool of youngsters’ in Gauteng are beating some of the best ‘up and coming talent’ that NZ and Aus can throw at them…
    ReplyReply
  26. The nicest thing about this win is how much the Bulls have improved since week one and how they once again perform much better than the pundits predicted pre-season.

    How do they get it so wrong year after year? I think it has something to do with the religion like belief that the Bulls’ game plane must be easy to counter.
    Evidence be dammed. This year is always the year the Bulls will be “found” out. The penny just never seem to drop.

    ReplyReply

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