for quality writing

Ken Borland

Steyn’s red card was always going to cause tears for the Bulls, but their poor finishing cost them in the end

Posted on March 24, 2022 by Ken

Morne Steyn’s red card in the 11th minute of the game was always going to cause some bitter tears for the Bulls, but their own poor finishing ability cost them in the end as a storming comeback saw them fall just short, losing 29-22 to the Sharks in their United Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The veteran Springbok flyhalf was sent off permanently for a late, high swinging arm on Lukhanyo Am, which definitely made contact with the centre’s neck area. But the Sharks did not dominate the flow of the game thereafter as much as they would have liked.

Flank Henco Venter bustled over for the opening try from the resulting penalty, and the Sharks went 14-0 up as hooker Bongi Mbonambi bolted over from a maul. It was an unfortunate blow for the Bulls as the Sharks were given a lineout just outside their 22 when fullback David Kriel’s massive relieving kick just landed on the line inside the Sharks’ 22.

But the Bulls settled into life with only 14 men and dominated territory for the rest of the half. Players worth their salt would have converted a couple of chances that came their way, but reward finally came in the 39th minute when Venter was yellow-carded and then Cornal Hendricks went over in the corner.

But Am scored a sensational try from the restart to make sure the Sharks went into the break 19-5 up. Two Bulls players thought the restart was going directly into touch, but Am snuck in, jumping to catch the ball and then darting down the touchline, regathering his own deft grubber to score a crucial try.

The Bulls scored first in the second half though, superb build-up play, keeping ball-in-hand, taking them into Sharks territory. The maul was again defended well by the visitors, but the Bulls kept bashing away and flank Marcell Coetzee forced his way over for the try.

The Sharks responded though in the 58th minute as they finally made use of the extra man with replacement scrumhalf Grant Williams producing a wonderful long, flat pass out wide to Makazole Mapimpi, who was able to stroll over for the try (26-12).

But just four minutes later, it was Williams who was crying big briney tears as he was red-carded for going in high on Bulls replacement flyhalf Chris Smith, smashing head-first into his cheekbone. Smith had to be stretchered off and it left the Bulls without a regular goalkicker, Kriel being forced to take over.

The Sharks’ defensive resolve did not dissolve though when they were down to 14 men, but the Bulls still scored two more tries but also wasted another couple of opportunities.

Several short passes close to the line went down and there was a three-man overlap wasted by Coetzee when he threw an awful, massive forward pass which myopic referee AJ Jacobs somehow missed, but the TMO did not.

Replacement prop Simphiwe Matanzima dived over to score with five minutes remaining, but Kriel missed the crucial conversion.

Three minutes later, replacement scrumhalf Embrose Papier made a searing break and wing Madosh Tambwe produced a stunning finish through two defenders. Kriel could not make the touchline conversion, so the Bulls, 22-26 down, had to try and score again with just two minutes left.

They won the restart and ran from deep, but the ever-alert Am produced the crucial turnover, replacement flyhalf Curwin Bosch kicking the resulting penalty.


Sharks – Tries: Henco Venter, Bongi Mbonambi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Tito Bonilla (2), Curwin Bosch. Penalty: Bosch.

Bulls – Tries: Cornal Hendricks, Marcell Coetzee, Simphiwe Matanzima, Madosh Tambwe. Conversion: Chris Smith.

Leave a Reply

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.

↑ Top