Sharks veteran Butch James kicked the Bulls into submission in Friday night’s Currie Cup action.
James was on target with two late penalties as the Sharks won 18-16. Fred Zeilinga had earlier kicked four penalties.
The Sharks led 9-3 midway through the first half but twice had to play with 14 men because of yellow card offences The Bulls could not maximise the advantage.
Blue Bulls – Try: Francois Venter. Conversion. Handré Pollard. Penalties: Pollard (3).
Sharks – Penalties: Fred Zeilinga (4), Butch James (2)..
Blue Bulls – 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross (c), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Dean Greyling, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Ulrich Beyers, 22 Sampie Mastriet.
Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Edwin Hewitt, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Butch James, 22 Louis Ludik.
Run of Play (as it happened)
80 BULLS 16-18 SHARKS
80 Sharks win the restart and then kick long downfield, forcing the Bulls to run from deep. Ross with a huge carry into the Sharks half as the Bulls look for a winning penalty… lost forward! O.Ndungane playing the advantage, Mvovo doing just enough to run the clock down before kicking into touch, and the Sharks get the victory! A true battle in Pretoria goes the way of the Durban side who snatch the win thanks to that late penalty from James. Thank you for reading.
79 PENALTY, SHARKS, JAMES! 16-18: The Sharks take the lead with only a minute remaining! Great drama at Loftus.
78 Sharks win a free kick at the scrum as they hunt for those winning points… and there it is! Huge moment as the Bulls are pinged for not rolling away, handing Butch James the chance to win the match.
77 Sharks’ maul looks to be running smoothly but they fail to lose the ball, scrum to the Bulls.
76 Nearly a disastrous decision from Basson as he tries to chip, O.Ndungane knocking on as he then sprints down the wing so we come back for the scrum. Bulls kick clear with the Sharks looking for a quick ball from the lineout but the Bulls block them, handing the visitors a penalty. SP Marais misses touch crucially with his kick to touch but the Bulls clearance is short, crucial moments now.
74 Bulls pinged for dangerous play flying into the maul so the Sharks have a penalty. Long clearance from James as they get out of their 22.
73 Maku’s lineout goes long for the Bulls and is snapped up by Coetzee. James clears but Visser’s response is a monster, bouncing into touch to keep the Sharks under pressure.
71 PENALTY, SHARKS, JAMES! 16-15: A one-point game going into the final few minutes here at Loftus, nervous stuff for both sides.
69 Pollard clears but cannot find touch, A.Ndungane nearly pick-pocketing Mvovo there on the loose ball but the Sharks recover… and win the penalty! Tough decision now with time running out, James going for goal.
67 Exciting burst for Macleod at the lineout as he surges through the gap, but loses the ball trying to go around the last man in O.Ndungane. Bulls scrum.
66 PENALTY, BULLS, POLLARD! 16-12: Bulls making the most of their chance there by converting the points, taking a four-point lead into the final few minutes.
64 Lengthy stoppage as the TMO examines footage to see if Macleod stamped on a Bulls player. Penalty is reversed and the Bulls clear long. Secure lineout and a punishing maul put them in a great position – collapsed by the Sharks and the Bulls win a penalty. Swing in momentum.
63 Sharks lineout in the Bulls 22, looking to hit right back and they get that penalty advantage. Touch judge has his flag out, so play is stopped…
61 TRY, BULLS, VENTER! 13-12: Bulls lineout nearly doesn’t come off as the ball is scrappy, but the Sharks knock on and the Bulls have a good scrum with the Sharks a man down. Basson in off his wing in midfield, space for Willemse… Venter stretches out and looks to have scored! First try of the match taken by the hosts and Pollard converts.
59 YELLOW CARD, SHARKS, DEYSEL! Pressure on the Sharks defence and they concede another penalty, Daniel seeking a clarification as the visitors are pinged at the breakdown again. Dangerous lineout for the Bulls, penalty advantage as Deysel enters the maul from the side – that’s a second yellow card for the Sharks. Bulls kick straight into the corner.
57 Promising position for the Sharks as the Bulls are pinged back into the corner with a five-metre lineout, but they execute and clear their lines. Awful pass from Macleod with numbers out to the right and it trickles into touch.
55 Englebrecht on for Liebenberg for the Bulls. Deysel in there again to turn that ball over at the breakdown, the Sharks in control in that area as the Bulls again are snuffed out.
53 Excellent scrum just short of their line from the Sharks, Chadwick getting the credit there as Zeilinga clears the ball up to the 10-metre line. Visser snaffles the high kick before Paige hoists a high one down the left touchline. Kicked back by O.Ndungane so Visser can run it, then the Bulls win a penalty at the breakdown. Pollard drills it low into touch.
52 Five-metre lineout for the Bulls goes to the back, Paige stopped short. Only two metres short now the Bulls, they get the ball over… but it’s held up. Good scrambling defence and the hosts have a five-metre scrum.
50 Sharks scrum struggling still and the put-in is reversed, Bulls now in a dangerous position. Excellent carry from Ross off the base, Deysel offside and the Bulls have a penalty.
48 High kick from Reinach is taken by Pollard who steps his way forward. Visser running elusively across the field as the Bulls look for key points. Six phases in they reach the Sharks 22, but Deysel again is there to slow the ball down at the breakdown for the Sharks who win the scrum.
46 Bulls scrum again making inroads as they win another penalty, but Pollard missing the penalty attempt to keep the Sharks ahead by six points.
44 PENALTY, SHARKS, ZEILINGA! 6-12: Fine strike by Zeilinga from wide on the right as the Sharks are back to 15 men, Botes returning from the bin.
42 Poor lineout from the Bulls and Deysel cleans up at the tail. Sharks flying forward now, Basson nearly intercepts but the visitors maintain possession. Deysel spins out of the tackle, Ndungane with a carry. Deysel again carrying and just of that Bulls’ try line now, very promising for the visitors. Visser pinged for offside, Zeilinga going for goal.
41 Long clearance by SP Marais is fielded by Pollard, whose reply is caught by Zeilinga and then cleared into touch in the Bulls half. Ross, the Bulls captain, is down having treatment.
40 Teams back out on the field as we get the second half underway. Pollard to kick off for the Bulls.
40 BLUE BULLS 6-9 SHARKS
40 Hooter sounds as the Bulls look for something before the break. Attacking down the left as Basson steps inside. Ball lost forward in the tackle by Willemse and Zeilinga clears into touch, the Sharks with the slender lead at half-time as they wait for Botes to come back onto the field. Scrappy first half dominated by kicking at Loftus. Second half coming up.
39 Nice line from Visser trying to break but the pass is poorly timed, Sharks now with a midfield scrum 35 metres out. Monster drive from the Bulls, who have a man advantage, so Pollard now will clear the ball into touch. Just enough time for the lineout.
36 Bulls lineout fails to go five metres so the Sharks have a free kick, but Reinach’s kick is too high and Visser calls the mark before clearing the ball away. Sharks running the ball back, wide to Mvovo who breaks the tackle but the ball is lost forward.
35 YELLOW CARD, SHARKS, BOTES! Referee van der Westhuizen has lost patience with the Sharks at the breakdown and Botes is sent to the bin after not rolling away in the tackle from the restart. Sharks now down to 14.
34 PENALTY, BULLS, POLLARD! 6-9: Excellent scrum from the Bulls pack and they win the penalty, Pollard easily slotting the shot at goal. Three-point game.
32 Botched offload from Botes hands the Bulls an opportunity here, setting up camp outside the Sharks 22. Ball is stuck in the ruck and to Daniel’s dismay, the Bulls have the scrum. Good position right in the middle of the park.
30 Quick lineout from Visser is poorly executed, so the Sharks opt for the scrum five metres infield. SP Marais comes onto the ball at pace and his kick flies into touch – wasted attack there for the Sharks. Bulls lineout.
28 PENALTY, SHARKS, ZEILINGA! 3-9: Sharks open up a six-point lead as we rumble through the first half.
26 Nowhere near enough distance on that from Pollard so the Sharks attack. Space on the left for Mvovo who steps in. Deysel in midfield and the Sharks have an advantage here. Venter too slow at the ruck and Zeilinga will now have a simple shot at goal.
25 Big drive again from the Sharks but illegally, Bulls winning the penalty. Pollard lining up a very long-range shot at goal – within his own half and on the angle on the right.
24 Good turnover by Deysel and the Sharks attack, Whitehead losing the ball forward though in the tackle. Bulls scrum wide on the right just inside their own half.
22 Key lineout from Mbonambi is not straight in the red zone, so the Sharks will get the scrum five metres from their own line. Big drive and Reinach has all the time to clear that ball long out of the 22.
21 High tackle from P.Marais so the Bulls have a penalty, kicking the ball into the corner rather than going for the posts. Lineout five metres out, driving maul set up. Good counter-drive, Liebenberg at the base. Shrill blast from the referee who is unhappy with the Sharks entry into the rucks, Bulls penalty and they go into the corner again.
19 Bulls again back in their 22 with the lineout, Mbonambi hitting his man at the front. Penalty against the Sharks for playing the man in the air. Pollard sets up a Bulls lineout 10 metres into the Sharks half.
18 Nice hands from the Sharks as Cooper steps his way forward, into the 22. Good turnover by Liebenberg for the Bulls and Pollard kicks long into touch – Bulls still under pressure though in their own half.
17 Lost forward by P.Marais and Pollard clears long for the Bulls. Coetzee on as a blood replacement for Botes.
15 High up and under from Pollard falls the Sharks way and the kick causes the Bulls problems near their own 22. Reinach then charges down a clearance kick but Basson is back in time to clear the danger. Good pressure from Reinach. Sharks go long from the lineout, into the Bulls 22.
14 PENALTY, SHARKS, ZEILINGA! 3-6: The visitors are right back in front after that gift of a penalty.
14 Careless penalty from the Bulls who are penalised for obstruction in their own 22 before the clearing kick. Zeilinga taking his fourth shot at goal.
13 PENALTY, BULLS, POLLARD! 3-3: Pollard racks up 50 points for the year in the Currie Cup with a sweet strike, the Bulls back level.
12 Excellent kickoff from Pollard and now the Bulls have a penalty, Daniel penalised for a side entry. Pollard lining up his first attempt of the night.
11 PENALTY, SHARKS, ZEILINGA! 0-3: Third time lucky for the young star as the away side take the lead.
9 Reinach emulates Zeilinga’s earlier kick by putting the Bulls back in their 22, winning the early territorial battle. Sharks on the edge of the 22, Zeilinga with the drop goal… it’s wide, but the Sharks have another penalty so Zeilinga will take his third strike from right in the middle of the pitch.
8 Another miss for Zeilinga! This time the ball comes back off the right-hand post and the Sharks should be 6-0 up. All square still.
7 First scrum reset as is the second, the referee unhappy with the initial engagement. Penalty to the Sharks, van der Merwe pinged for dropping his bind. Zeilinga lines up the shot.
6 Zeilinga redeems himself with a fine precision kick into the corner, pinning the Bulls back into their own 22. Five-metre lineout for Mbonambi but that’s not straight – the Sharks with an excellent platform now.
5 Dreadful attempt at goal from Zeilinga sails wide of the sticks to the right, so we stay all square.
4 Sharks come away with it through Ndungane – brilliant break through the middle by Williams. Sharks into the Bulls 22 and have an advantage. Botes heavily involved with the initial turnover, no advantage though so the Sharks opt for the posts.
3 Short lineout works well for the Bulls with Mbonambi carrying. Drop goal attempt from Pollard… just wide off the posts there as the Bulls look for early points. Sharks to drop out.
1 Ross misses the ball on the kick off, which flies straight into touch. Solid Bulls out and initial carry – the Sharks penalised for not releasing, Deysel the guilty man. Pollard clears into the Sharks half.
0 Referee Marius van der Westhuizen is ready as the Sharks kick off through Zeilinga. We’re underway!
0 Keegan Daniel leads out the Sharks on a clear night at Loftus, no rain to hinder handling conditions tonight.
0 Jean Deysel and Jacques Botes return to the Sharks’ side for their clash with the Blue Bulls. Cobus Reinach also comes in at scrum-half for Charl McLeod, who drops down to the bench. Marcell Coetzee finds himself in the match-day squad having been released from Springbok duty by national coach Heyeneke Meyer for the battle.
0 Springbok wing Bjorn Basson returns to the Blue Bulls starting XV for Friday’s clash with the Sharks in Pretoria. He comes in for Sampie Mastriet, who drops down to the bench while Clayton Blommetjies misses out on selection. Bongi Mbonambi will start at hooker and Frik Kirsten, who recovered from a knee injury, will play as tighthead. They replace Bandise Maku and Werner Kruger who started against Griquas last weekend.
0 Hello and welcome to Loftus Versfeld for today’s Currie Cup clash between the Blue Bulls and the Sharks.