Warrick Gelant bagged a hat-trick as the Bulls defeated the Sharks 17-30 at Kings Park in Durban, scoring four tries to two in a comfortable win on the South African east coast.
Jan Serfontein was outstanding, continuing his Springbok form against France, at the Shark Tank.
The Bok inside centre set up two of Gelant’s scores, causing havoc among the Sharks’ defenders and was a beast in defence.
Nick de Jager opened the scoring, early in the first-half, but the Sharks’ hit back soon after through Thomas du Toit before the Bulls sped away with two tries by their fullback.
Gelant’s third cancelled out Curwin Bosch’s 54th minute try and Tian Schoeman’s boot did the rest.
The Bulls won the battles that count; making more carries, more metres, beating 21 defenders to the Sharks’ 12. as well as winning nine turnovers to five, two mauls to nil and losing only one of their 75
They also as won nine turnovers to five, two mauls to nil; losing only one of their 75 rucks to the home team’s four in 75, while conceding only six penalties to 11.
But, it was the way Tian Schoeman, Jason Jenkins and Serfontein used the ball, that made the most telling difference.
Everything good came from Serfontein. He made 69 metres, running eight times from 21 touches in attack, beat three defenders and made three clean breaks, culminating in his try assists for Gelant.
The 24-year-old made the tie-second most tackles (11) for the Bulls (equal fourth overall in the match) in a superb all-round display.
The Sharks had no answer to the Blue wave that engulfed them. De Jager opened the scoring after Franco Marais missed his jumper, throwing over Stephan Lewies.
The No 8 gathered and dived over from close range for the game’s first try.
The Sharks got in on the act on 17 minutes when Du Toit crashed over the whitewash.
The big man took a short pass from Cobus Reinach, looked up, saw Rudolph Snyman in front of him and barged over the lock for the game equalising score.
Bosch’s conversion gave his side a 7-5 lead, but it was very short-lived and the last time that the men in black and white would have the numerical advantage.
From the restart, the Bulls hit back. The Gelant gathered after Garth April lost the ball on a counter attack.
Tian Schoeman picked up the bouncing ball, threw an outrageous no-look, behind the back pass to Jenkins. The wing drew his man and sent Gelant away to score. Schoeman added the extras.
Bosch reduced the gap to three with his only penalty of the match, however, die blou bulle struck back immediately.
Some more magic from Serfontein, before the break, set up Gelant’s second try after he made another line-break into the Sharks’ 22, threw a dummy, swivelled his hips, drew April and popped to the fullback, who scored in the corner.
The half-time score saw the two teams at only a seven-point margin, but in truth, it was more than that.
Five minutes after the break Sibusiso Sithole, who was having a poor day, was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle. Tian Schoeman’s penalty increased the Bulls’ lead to 10 points.
But, it was the home team that who scored while the centre was off. Bosch collected Michael Claassens’ long skip-pass and dived in from five metres out, sliding over to score.
It all came from some quick ball at the breakdown, under the posts. The fullback’s conversion made it a three-point ballgame.
The comeback did not materialise, instead, a minute after Bosch’s try, Gelant scored his third. It came from another Serfontein break, this time, throwing a long, wide pass to the fullback to score. Game over.
Tian Schoeman’s conversion and 72nd-minute penalty closed the game out. The home team mounted a spirited comeback, but it was in vain, as the men from Pretoria left with the spoils.
Final score: Sharks 17 (10) Bulls 30 (17)
Tries – Du Toit, Bosch
Pen – Bosch
Con – Bosch (2)
Cards – Nkosi (Yellow, 45th minute)
Tries – De Jager, Gelant (3)
Pen – T. Schoeman (2)
Con – T. Schoeman (2)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: Quinton Immelman
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Garth April, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Lubabalo Mtembu, 6 Philip van der Walt (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Marius Louw.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Kefentse Mahlo, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Johnroy Jenkins, 19 Shaun Adendorff, 20 Renaldo Bothma, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Burger Odendaal, 23 Tian Schoeman