The Cell C Sharks took their opportunities in an error strewn Currie Cup match as they beat the Vodacom Blue Bulls 28-20 (half-time 13-10) at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday evening.
The Sharks handed the home team their first defeat in this year’s Currie Cup and although they missed a magnitude of tackles, they were still able to shut the Blue Bulls out and disrupt their game plan.
The Sharks made the Blue Bulls pay for an unforced error early on when a wayward offload was snapped up by the visitors who shoveled it down the line. Wing S’bu Nkosi evaded a few tackles to score a well worked try in the third minute.
The Blue Bulls hit back several minutes later courtesy of inside centre Burger Odendaal. A few solid phases allowed Odendaal the space needed to sell a dummy and evade a tackle to score close to the uprights. Flyhalf Tony Jantjies’s conversion gave his side the lead for the first and last time in the match.
The Sharks regained the lead four minutes later when a strong lineout drive by the forwards saw hooker Franco Marais get his name on the scoreboard.
Lock Ruben van Heerden was shown a yellow card for a trip in the 26th minute but the Sharks failed to make use of their advantage as the home team defended like mad men.
The teams struggled to shrug off the public holiday blues as they lulled into a series of mistakes throughout the remainder of the first half. A penalty goal to fullback Garth April and Jantjies were the only points scored with the latter’s bringing the curtain down on the first half.
It was much the same in the opening minutes of the second half as the teams just could not assert dominance over each other.
Inside centre Lukhanyo Am broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute when he ran a sensational line to score untouched and under the poles. April was on hand to add the extras.
Jantjies and April traded penalties as their teams continued with their cat and mouse, back and forth tussle with the scoreboard surviving on scraps.
Van Heerden made amends for his indiscretion when he burrowed over for a try with 15 minutes left on the clock but April would have the final say of the match as he slithered through the defence to score the visitor’s bonus point try and secure a 28-20 win in Pretoria.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Burger Odendaal, Ruben van Heerden; Cons: Tony Jantjies (2); Pens: Jantjies (2).
Cell C Sharks – Tries: S’bu Nkosi, Franco Marais, Lukhanyo Am, Garth April; Con: April; Pens: April (2).