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Bulls prevail in Loftus humdinger

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 28 Feb 2015 at 18:59
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A last-second try from Jan Serfontein has cruelly denied the Sharks even a losing bonus point in a Loftus clash that went right down to the wire. The Bulls emerged with all the spoils in a 43-35 victory.

The Sharks, trailing by a single point as the final whistle blew, launched a last desperate counter attack, looking to claw themselves back from the brink from the umpteenth time in the match. With the Bulls’ desperation and better discipline, not to mention some shocking refereeing calls, conspiring to keep the sharks behind on the scoreboard, it fell, cruelly, to Pat Lambie, 25-point hero, to knock a pass on with his head and into the arms of Bok teammate Serfontein, who went over for the hosts’s bonus point try.

After an initial period where the Sharks looked stronger, but suffered at the hands of referee Jaco van Heerden, the Bulls turned their 9-6 lead into a 16-6 advantage; Jesse Kriel opened up Andre Esterhuizen on the Sharks 10m line, darting left to link up with Francois Hougaard for the opening try. The pass to the scrumhalf-turned-wing was marginally forward, but the try stood and the Sharks were reeling.

Lambie and Handre Pollard traded further penalties before the visitors spring into action, with Renaldo Bothma’s superb offload to SP Marais allowing the fullback to send Odwa Ndungane away. The veteran winger sent Ryan Kankowski posts-wards, with Lambie’s conversion leveling the sores at 16-all. The Bulls, though, fought back strongly to score through Deon Stegmann before half time and went into the shed holding a 23-16 lead.

Their third try came not long afterward, despite Lambie’s early second-half penalty. Pierre Spies found a yawning hole in the Sharks defence after patient build-up play from his side in the 22 and he strolled through. At 19-30 behind, the writing was on the wall, yet it was bizarrely the Sharks who struck back from the very next kick-off. As the Bulls allowed themselves to relax just slightly, Cobus Reinach charged down a Rudy Paige clearance and sprinted through to score. With the lead now just four, the Bulls were the ones who started to panic and the Sharks plugged away, controlling territory and the gainline to eventually take the lead via two further penalties.

That 35-33 advantage, though, came with 7 minutes too many left on the clock. A poor Reinach clearance from the restart allowed the Bulls to set a lineut maul, from which the penalty came. At 36-35, they knew how to close out the game, with Serfontein’s late score adding the gravy, while robbing the Sharks of a bonus point, the very least they deserved from this encounter.

Bulls 43: Tries Hougaard, Stegmann, Spies, Serfontein. Conversions Pollard (3), Schoeman. Penalties Pollard (4), Schoeman.
Sharks 35: Tries Kankowski, Reinach. Conversions Lambie (2). Penalties Lambie (7)


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