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Ken Borland

Bulls needed only half-an-hour to dash off to the west & into the sunset 0

Posted on September 29, 2020 by Ken

It took no more than half-an-hour of their SuperFan Saturday game against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld for the Bulls to head off into the west and disappear into the sunset, such was their dominance in terms of power and pace on their way to a 49-28 victory.

In that opening half-hour, the Bulls were simply dazzling as they raced into a 35-0 lead with five wonderful tries. The Sharks struck back with a try after the halftime hooter, and went into the break 7-35 down. The Bulls replaced almost their entire 1st XV after 52 minutes, and the visitors were able to make the scoreline less embarrassing.

But there was no doubting they had been blown off the park in the first half by the Bulls’ dazzling combination of immense forward power and extreme pace and elusiveness in the backline, with veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn running the show with aplomb and thoroughly enjoying all the front-foot ball he was given.

The Bulls opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a fairly typical driving maul try scored by hooker Schalk Erasmus, but thereafter it was the guys with the fast feet and rocket-pace at the back who stole the show. Coach Jake White had said during the week that we should watch out for the likes of Gio Aplon, Stedman Gans and Kurt-Lee Arendse and they did not disappoint, while former Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks shone as he moved into the inside centre position.

Outside centre Gans stepped brilliantly and raced away after the Sharks had failed to handle a bomb from Steyn, wing Arendse then scored the try of the game as he outpaced everyone from 80 metres out after the Sharks, hard on attack, had knocked on in the maul, and lovely work by Hendricks then sent Arendse over for his second try 10 minutes later. Gans also turned provider as he set up wing Travis Ismaiel for the fifth try.

As sparkling as the running of the backs was, it was obviously the tremendous graft of the pack that made it possible. The sheer physicality of prop Jacques van Rooyen, locks Ruan Nortje and Jason Jenkins, and loose forwards Duane Vermeulen and Arno Botha meant the Bulls won the battle of the gain-line, while Marco van Staden was the terror of the breakdowns.

There was no doubting the character of the Sharks though, and the defence of the Bulls was also given a good workout and generally stood up well.

The Sharks dominated the latter stages of the second half, scoring four tries in all. But the loss of momentum, both on the field on Saturday and in terms of where they left off in Super Rugby, will be of great concern for coach Sean Everitt.

Points scorers

BullsTries: Schalk Erasmus, Stedman Gans, Kurt-Lee Arendse (2), Travis Ismaiel, David Kriel (2). Conversions: Morne Steyn (5), Chris Smith (2).

Sharks – Tries: Grant Williams, Marius Louw, Daniel Jooste, Jaden Hendrickse. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2), Jordan Chait (2).

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