The Vodacom Bulls catapulted themselves into playoff contention with their 39-33 win (halftime 22-17) against the Cell C Sharks in Round 13 of Vodacom Super Rugby at Loftus Versfeld.
It was the Cell C Sharks who challenged the scoreboard first as fullback Curwin Bosch crossed the whitewash but his efforts were disallowed due to his tripping of fullback Warrick Gelant in the build-up and was shown a yellow card for his efforts.
The Vodacom Bulls made good use of the resulting penalty as the ball was shuffled down the line to outside centre Jesse Kriel who grubbered the pill past the defence to a flying Gelant who scored a converted try.
Kriel continued his fine form as he received the final pass and brushed off a defender to score moments later.
The visitors got onto the board courtesy of Bosch who received an offload in the 23rd minute. Flyhalf Robert du Preez converted to cut the deficit to five points.
The men in light blue were not done with scoring tries as wing Travis Ismaiel did well to stay infield long enough for flank Roelof Smit to scoop up the ball and score.
The Vodacom Bulls found themselves on the wrong side of the referee as lock RG Snyman was sin binned for a late tackle and the Cell C Sharks capitalised on their advantage as flank Jacques Vermeulen scored a converted try.
Pollard and Bosch traded penalties in the dying minutes of the first half as the teams headed to the sheds with the Vodacom Bulls leading 22-17.
The Cell C Sharks started the second half like a house on fire as Du Preez sunk two penalty goals to take the lead for the first time but his efforts were nullified as wing Johnny Kotze received a pop pass from Gelant to score in the corner in the 55th minute.
The visitors suffered their second yellow card of the match as outside centre Lukhanyo Am was ordered off after tackling a player in the air.
Lock Lood de Jager scored the Vodacom Bulls’ fifth try as he used his tall timber to reach out and score in the 67th minute. Pollard converted and added a penalty to gift his team a 39-23 lead with 11 minutes left on the clock.
Springbok flank Jean-Luc continued the ding dong affair as he dotted down a minute later as the Cell C Sharks registered third third try.
Kriel almost bagged his brace only to be denied by the TMO for an earlier infringement in the 75th minute.
With the clock run out, the Cell C Sharks slotted a penalty to earn a bonus point as the Vodacom Bulls secured a 39-33 win at Loftus Versfeld.
Vodacom Bulls – Tries: Warrick Gelant, Jessie Kriel, Roelof Smit, Jonny Kotze, Lood de Jager; Conversions: Handre Pollard (4); Penalty: Pollard.
Cell C Sharks – Tries: Curwin Bosch, Jacques Vermeulen, Jean-Luc du Preez; Conversions: Robert du Preez (2); Penalties: Du Preez (3), Bosch.