Super Rugby

Bulls beat Sharks in Durban




The Sharks have played the Bulls 29 times in Super Rugby, winning nine matches, losing 18 and drawing two.

That gives the Sharks a record of winning 31% of their matches against the Bulls regardless of the venue, which is not good at all.

  • The Bulls are undefeated in their last eight Super Rugby games against the Sharks (W7, D1), last losing to the Durban club in Round 1, 2014.
  • The Sharks have won seven of their last eight Super Rugby games on home turf, losing only to the Stormers in that period.
  • The Bulls have won their last three South African derbies in Super Rugby on the bounce; the last time they won more was a four-game spree in 2014.
  • Pote Human’s side boasts a lineout success rate of 95% in Super Rugby 2019, the highest of any team in the competition and 10 percentage points higher than the Sharks (85%).
  • Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks) has made an average gain of 9.6m per carry in Super Rugby 2019, the most of any player who has made at least 30 carries this season.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kickoff.

In the meantime why not have a look at the match preview.

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway at a warm, sunny Kings Park. There is a swirling wind inside the famous stadium which will play tricks on the kickers.

2.00: The Bulls win a penalty after Armand van der Merwe is penalised for hands in the ruck. Handré Pollard calls for the kicking tee.

3.00: PENALTY! Pollard makes no mistake, striking the ball down the middle. 0-3

4.00: Hanro Liebenberg gets pinged for hands in the ruck after Beast Mtawarira’s storming run from Aphelele Fassi’s break and offload.

5.00: PENALTY! The moustacheless Robert du Preez levels. 3-all

7.00: Jesse Kriel breaks the line after taking Pollard’s flat pass. He makes it to the 22 but is tackled. The Bulls recycle the ball, but it’s slow ball. The Bulls are driven back into their half by some big defence by the home team.

8.00: NO TRY! Dan du Preez takes Fassi’s pass and runs in to score in the corner. Pollard scragged the fullback after he gathered Makazole Mapimpi’s kick. The TMO reviews, but calls the ball out. The replays show the ball was inside the line. BAD CALL by Christie du Preez, what is he doing?

9.00: Duane Vermeulen drops Fassi’s high-ball forward and into touch. The No 8 misjudged the flight of the ball because of the swirling wind.

10.00: The visitor’s front row concedes a free-kick for pre-engagement. Sharks opt for another scrum, which is reset for the third time. Referee Mike Fraser speaks to both sets of front rowers, now.

12.00: Fassi puts boot to ball, this time a well-timed grubber that Cornal Hendricks has to carry into touch inside his 22.

13.00: Rosco Specman is penalised for offsides. Dan du Preez and ‘Beast’, in his 156th Super Rugby match over 12 years, carried twice in the series. What a servant he’s been to the men in black! The Sharks kick to the corner.

14.00: Superb work by Burger Odendaal, winning a penalty after the maul went to ground. We are checking for foul play by Ruben van Heerden on Odendaal. Wait, it is Pollard who is pinged. I’m confused because Van Heerden did not use his arms to clean out the centre.

WHAT ARE THE OFFICIALS DOING? That’s two baffling calls by the referee and TMO. Sharks go quickly.

15.00: The Bulls scramble defence comes good. Embrose Papier’s tackle knocks the ball out of Rob du Preez’s hands. The Sharks need more composure.

16.00: Mtawarira is pinged for pre-engagement, this time allowing Pollard to exit. Poor all-round by the Durban side.

17.00: Ruan Steenkamp is caught for not rolling away and going off his feet. The hosts opted for the points, this time.

19.00: MISS! The wind pushes Du Preez’s kick to the right of the posts. 3-all

21.00: The visitors – FINALLY – leave their half. Schalk Brits passes to Specman, who beats three defenders before Hyron Andrews wins the turnover. Liebenberg is pinged at the ruck for the second time.

23.00: A handling error by the hosts, gifts possession back to Pote Human’s men. Coenie Oosthuizen is pinged for dropping his bind. Pollard kicks deep into Sharks’ territory.

24.00: Brits knocks on at the base of the maul after it collapsed.

25.00: Andre Esterhuizen breaks through Pollard’s tackle but the Bulls win the turnover after a knock on. Rob du Preez’s dad and coach Robert Snr is pulling his hair out because his son has made another handling error.

27.00: There have been seven handling mistakes in this derby. It is killing both teams. Brits plays Lizo Gqoboka through a gap, but the hooker’s pass was forward. However, they have a penalty for offsides.

28.00: PENALTY! Pollard puts his team back in front with his 23rd penalty of the season. 3-6

30.00: Papier’s clearance is caught by the chasing Specman. The winger is wrapped up in the tackle before the Bulls spread the ball to space on the outside. They lose possession, though, giving the Sharks an attacking scrum.

31.00: A big scrum by the visitors forces the hosts into a mistake. A loose pass is gathered by the Sharks and Du Preez kicks deep, but the ball rolls over the goal line for a 22 drop-out.

32.00: There is no momentum for either of the South African sides because of all the mistakes. The game is littered with errors.

33.00: Mtawarira is penalised for the second time in the scrum, allowing the Bulls an easy exit from their 22.

35.00: Hendricks chases Pollard’s grubber but the ball beats the winger into touch. The Sharks win their lineout, but the clearance-kick goes out about five metres from the home team’s 22.

37.00: The Sharks win the turnover and go through the phases as they attack inside the Bulls’ 22. Pollard’s stray pass is not costly because of another handling error by the Sharks kills the attack.

38.00: Fassi wins the kicking battle with Pollard. Akker van der Merwe has the throw into the lineout.

39.00: Kriel’s big hit on Fassi wins possession back to the Blue Bulls. Gqoboka broke forward, his stray pass was collected by Steenkamp, but Human’s side loses the ball, too. The Sharks kick into the Bulls’ half and are on the attack.

42.00: The sharks go 10 phases, punching forward with their forwards, who all get a carry before an accidental offside kills the attack – Halftime.

The halftime score was Sharks 3 Bulls 6

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Durban.

41.30: TRY! The Bulls knock on the kickoff, the Sharks go wide before some good carrying and offloading by the Sharks’ props set up Dan du Preez’s try. The Sharks got quick ball and shifted the pill wide, and the Bulls ran out of defenders in the wide channel allowing Du Preez to dive over untouched. 8-6

43.00: MISS! Rob du Preez misses from wide. 8-6

45.00: Van der Merwe’s tackle on Papier slows down the Bulls’ ball. The visitors regroup but kick the ball away. Lwazi Mvovo finds space on the outside, but the attack comes to nothing.

46.00: The Sharks go wide from their lineout, but some sloppy handling stalls the attack. They gather and regroup. The home team has started the second half with some intensity.

47.00: Vermeulen wins the turnover but the Bulls have to kick away possession. Fassi’s positioning is good, he counter-attacks and the Sharks win a penalty at the breakdown Du Preez kicks to the Bulls’ 22.

49.00: Lukhanyo Am hands off Specman and starts another attack. The Sharks are going through the phases, but Vermeulen makes amends for his earlier indiscretion, winning the penalty at the ruck.

50.00: Mtawarira leaves the field to a loud cheer; he’s been immense, today. The Bulls win their lineout and set up a driving maul. The Sharks’ forwards counter the maul, so Pollard has to kick possession away.

52.00: Mvovo loses Pollard’s kick, forward. Scrum to the Pretoria men.

53.00: TRY! Easy as you like. Odendaal goes straight though Rob du Preez’s weak tackle. He draws the defender and offloads to the supporting Kriel, who goes past Fassi and scores under the posts. 8-11

54.00: CONVERSION! Pollard adds the extras. 8-13

55.00: Papier’s box-kick is charged down by Luke Stringer; however, the flanker cannot gather, instead, knocking on so the Bulls survive the scare.

56.00: Kriel’s kick is charged down after Pollard, who was under pressure, had to pass wide. Mvovo couldn’t gather the ball, but the Bulls give away a penalty for offsides. The Sharks kick to the corner.

57.00: Brits stops Van der Merwe’s run, but the Sharks will retain possession for a five-metre scrum. The referee is checking for foul play between the two hookers. There have been a few off-the-ball scuffles. Van der Merwe was throwing punches and might be in trouble.

57.00: TWO RED CARDS! Van der Merwe headbutts Brits, however, Brits throws the first punch before the Sharks’ hooker returns the favour. Mr Fraser makes the right call and so both hookers leave the field and will not return. The Sharks are awarded a penalty for the first Brits’ punch. 8-13

59.00: The Sharks go quickly but are stopped by a blue wall. Specman slowed the ball down but is not penalised. Esterhuizen, twice, tried to break the line but was pushed backwards.

60.00: The Bulls win the scrum and survive another scare. We have two new hookers and a spate of replacements. What is going on?

61.00: BIG SCRUM! The Sharks win a scrum-penalty after Conraad van Vuuren is pinged.

62.00: PENALTY! Du Preez reduces the deficit to two points. 11-13

64.00: The Sharks win another turnover and exit their half. Curwin Bosch recovers a kick, taking a mark. The hosts are slowing the play, down. Papier clears Bosch’s kick; that’ll be his last play as he is subbed off.

66.00: It’s getting messy. The Bulls won the Sharks’ throw, but then, in turn, lose the ball which starts a counter-attack through Am. The Bulls recover and are awarded a penalty at the breakdown. Pollard clears.

67.00: Jacques Vermeulen is penalised for collapsing the resulting maul. Pollard attempts a drop-goal, but the ball sails wide. He will take a shot.

68.00: PENALTY! Pollard makes no mistake. 11-16

69.00: Brilliant work by Mapimpi and Dan du Preez as they win the turnover after a Bulls’ player is caught and held up in the tackle. Scrum to the hosts inside the Bulls’ 22.

71.00: Am breaks a tackle and charges towards the try line. He is tackled short and could not find an offload.

72.00: TRY! Esterhuizen crashes through Specman’s tackle to level the scores. It all came from the turnover, Am’s break and the quick ball from the ruck. 16-all

73.00: MISS! OH DEAR! Du Preez’s kick is no good. We are still level. 16-all

74.00: Esterhuizen is at it again. He is strong at the breakdown, winning the penalty after the Bulls do not release.

76.00: The opportunity for the Sharks, goes begging as they lose possession at the breakdown. Pollard clears deep into the opposition’s half.

77.00: Bosch takes the high ball, steps past an attacker and bursts forward. The Bulls win back possession but lose the ball forward after contact.

78.00: Both teams have players down; it’s been a brutal South African derby. The last draw between these two sides was 16-all  2015.

79.00: MASSIVE SCRUM BY THE BULLS! They win the scrum-penalty which is right in front of the poles. The Bulls’ front row set up the big scrum.

79.59: PENALTY! Pollard makes no mistake. 16-19

81.00: The Bulls gather the restart, wait for the hooter, and clear into touch to keep their unbeaten 5-year record against the men in black.


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The final score is Sharks 16 (3) Bulls 19 (6)


Tries – D. Du Preez, Esterhuizen
Pen – R. Du Preez (2)
Con –
Drop –
Cards – Van der Merwe (Red, 57′)

Tries – Kriel
Pen – Pollard (4)
Con – Pollard
Drop –
Cards – Brits (Red, 57′)

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 2: Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Christie du Preez



15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Lwazi Mvovo, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Kobus van Wyk, 23 Curwin Bosch.


15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Johnny Kotze.

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