The Sharks have played the Bulls 30 times in Super Rugby since 1998, the Sharks have won nine matches, lost 19 times and drawn twice.
The Sharks’ nine wins give them a record of winning 30% of their matches against the Bulls regardless of venue.
- The Bulls are undefeated in their last nine Super Rugby games against the Sharks; a 16-16 draw in March 2016 their only blemish amid that run.
- The Durban-based franchise will begin their Super Rugby campaign at home for the first time since 2015; they’ve won five of their last seven fixtures when starting the season at Kings Park.
- The Bulls won five of their six South African derbies last Super Rugby season; it was their most derby wins in a single campaign since 2013 (7 wins).
- The Sharks commanded more than 20 minutes in possession in their final two games of the 2019 Super Rugby season; they had not previously done so since July 2013 (against the Bulls).
- Cornal Hendricks has scored five tries in his last six Super Rugby games – including three tries in his previous two games – after not having scored in any of his first eight appearances for the Bulls.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
In the meantime, why not have a look at the match preview.
Welcome to the South African leg of the opening round of Super Rugby 2020. It’s hard to believe that the southern hemisphere’s premier rugby tournament is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
We have a cracking match in-store at the Shark Tank on South Africa’s sub-tropical east coast between two of the county’s most storied Super Rugby franchises.
The Small Zone #14 has opened behind the poles at Kings Park in honour of the recently deceased Springboks and Sharks legend James Small.
It looks epic with 300 kids having the time of their lives in a swimming pool, equipped with water slide, and a massive beach-sand pit next to the pool – only in Durban.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in Durban where the temperature is 27 degrees celsius, although, Butch James says a gentle breeze has picked up and is cooling the stadium.
2.00: The Sharks start with a drop off Morne Steyn’s kick-off, the Bulls win possession, go several phases before Thomas du Toit is penalised for not rolling away.
2.00: PENALTY! Steyn is back into his Super Rugby groove after being away since 2014. 0-3
4.00: A bit of aerial ping-pong taking place as the teams vie for territory.
6.00: James Venter wins the ball for the Sharks at the breakdown, starting a counter-attack on the Bulls’ 22, before winning a penalty for offsides.
7.00: PENALTY! Curwin Bosch, playing flyhalf, slots the penalty to level the scores. 3-all
9.00: Superb tackle from Lukhanyo Am, who is captaining the team for the first time. The 2019 World Cup winner with the Boks took Warrick Gelant and the ball, winning possession near halfway.
10.00: Another reset scrum after both packs lose their footing. The Kings Park turf is infamous for its sandy ground, which tears up underfoot, especially after heavy rain.
11.00: The visitor’s front row wins the first battle after the Sharks front row collapses. Steyn kicks deep into Sharks territory.
13.00: Aphelele Fassi takes Steyn’s high ball, ducks a tackle from Rosco Specman, and races away to the Bulls 22 where he meets Steyn. The flyhalf smokes the fullback, who should have played the support runner on his inside. Good work, but poor decision-making by Fassi.
14.00: The scrum is reset for the third time; Sharks struggling in the tight phase set-piece.
15.00: Poor from the Bulls, who give away a silly penalty for walking around. Words are exchanged between Ox Nche and Wiehahn Herbst: 1-all in the scrums. Bosch calls for the tee from 36 metres in front.
17.00: PENALTY! Bosch slots the kick to put his side in front. 6-3
20.00: Du Toit knocks on after taking a double tackle by two defenders. The ball should not be that slippery as it is not that humid and the game is only in the first quarter. All the players are having a drinks break while we wait for the scrum.
21.00: TIME OFF! Referee Marius van der Westhuizen has had enough; both looseheads get a talking to about their early engagement and binding.
22.00: Ivan van Zyl is penalised for blocking the Sharks chasers after Fassi returned Steyn’s kick with a bomb of his own. Bosch kicks to the opposition’s 22.
23.00: Andries Ferreira sacks his opposite number, winning a scrum after a knock-on.
24.00: Sibusiso Nkosi gives away a penalty for offsides.
25.00: PENALTY! Steyn levels from 45 metres, the ball just dropping over the crossbar. 6-all
28.00: The Bulls are starting to keep the ball, and are attacking the Sharks in the wide channels.
29.00: Turnover ball leads to Makazole Mapimpi chasing a grubber to the Bulls five-metre line.
31.00: The Sharks slow down the play, looking to use pick-and-drives to get some go-forward, but the Bulls defenders stand strong, leading to another handling error.
33.00: The hookers are wiping the ball with towels provided by some young ball boys as the humidity takes hold.
35.00: A mini-break by Abongile Nonkontwana starts an attack for the Bulls, but the chance is lost; however, the Bulls win a penalty, which Stryn boots to the opposition’s 22.
36.00: The Bulls go to their driving maul, and although they make some metres, the Sharks break up the drive and win a turnover at the next phase.
37.00: Steyn returns Fassi’s monster kick with interest, turning around the Sharks’ forwards, but the hosts win the lineout.
38.00: DROP-GOAL! Steyn drops back into the pocket and slots the drop-goal to put the Pretoria side ahead. 6-9
41.00: The hooter sounds, but there is still time for a Sharks scrum.
42.00: Nche knocks on, killing the attack.
The halftime score is Sharks 6 Bulls 9
Some of the lights have gone out at Kings Park and the backup lights are on. Only in South Africa. The crowd all have their phone torches on and are waving their smartphones in good humour.
Let’s hope it won’t be too long until we get back underway.
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway after a 10-minute delay. We hope the lights stay on.
43.00: Bosch, with a clever over-the-top grubber, pins the Bulls back inside their 22.
44.00: Van Zyl finds Steyn, who kicks the ball out on the 22. The Sharks have a good opportunity here for some points.
44.00: TRY! Nkosi chases Bosch’s crossfield kick, beats a dawdling Specman to the bouncing ball before dotting down near the dead-ball line. Great try by the Boks winger. Specman will be seething with himself for letting the ball bounce. Lazy defending. 11-9
46.00: CONVERSION! Bosch slots the sideline conversion. 13-9
47.00: The Bulls go close, but the ball is lost forward when scoring seemed easier.
49.00: Bosch misses a penalty touch-finder, allowing the Bulls to counter-attack. Wasteful from the flyhalf.
50.00: Pote Human changes his entire front row. Johan Grobbelaar, Simphiwe Matanzima and Trevor Nyakane all enter the field.
51.00: Mapimpi races down the sideline after the Sharks won the turnover. Specman loses another high ball but is saved by Gelant, who launches the ball down the field.
52.00: Burger Oudendaal gives away a penalty in a kickable position. Bosch calls for the tee.
53.00: PENALTY! Bosch, who has worked hard on his kicking in the off-season with Pat Lambie, slots the long-range kick. 16-9
56.00: The Bulls win a Sharks throw, but lose the ball in the tackle with the try-line in sight.
58.00: The game is opening up, but not through skill rather mistakes. It should make for a more adventuress final quarter if the players start throwing the ball around, willy-nilly.
61.00: PENALTY! Steyn adds another three, reducing the gap to four. 16-12
64.00: Makazole Mapimpi attacks down the right, but loses the ball with a poor pass. The Sharks are caught offsides, and Steyn pins them back inside their 22.
67.00: Embrose Papier starts a counter-attack from his own line, jinking his way towards the halfway line before the Bulls win a penalty. Steyn will have a shot from 48-and-a-half metres.
69.00: MISS! Steyn’s kick is about 15 metres short. 16-12
73.00: Mapimpi drops an intercept that would have killed this game off.
75.00: Another penalty to the Bulls, and in an easier part of the field for Steyn.
77.00: PENALTY! Steyn makes no mistake; it’s squeaky bum time. 16-15
78.00: A mistake from Gelant gives the Sharks a last opportunity with an attacking lineout inside the Bulls’ 22.
79.00: Scrum to the Sharks on the Bulls’ 22.
80.00: TRY! Sanele Nohamba comes off the bench to seal the game for the Sharks on his Super Rugby debut. 21-15
81.00: Bosch adds the extras. 23-15
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The final score is Sharks 23 (6) Bulls 15 (9)
Tries – Nkosi, Nohamba
Pen – Bosch (3)
Con – Bosch (2)
Pen – Steyn (4)
Drop – Steyn
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 1: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 2: Egon Seconds
TMO: Marius Jonker
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Boeta Chamberlain, 23 Jeremy Ward.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal (C), 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Jeandré Rudolph, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Ryno Pieterse, 21 Wian Vosloo, 22 Embrose Papier, 23 Manie Libbok.