Curwin Bosch scored 21 points as the Sharks clinched a hard-fought 26-19 win over the Blue Bulls in Durban on Saturday night. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Bosch completed a points-scoring full house, going over for a try, while slotting two conversions, three penalties and a drop goal in an impressive all-round display from the youngster.
His points haul helped the Sharks to a fourth successive win of the season, and sees the coastal side strengthen their position at the top of the Premier Division standings.
While the Sharks certainly came away with a most deserved victory, it was the Bulls who made an encouraging start to the encounter as they regularly put boot to ball, looking to pin the Sharks back in their own territory and play from the right areas of the field.
A beautifully worked move from a lineout drive then saw winger Jamba Ulengo ghost past a would-be tackler to score under the posts and send the visitors into an early lead.
However, the Sharks gradually began to work their way into the clash, and as the hosts applied increasing pressure, so the Bulls’ discipline began to let them down.
Bosch slotted two penalties just after the quarter-hour mark, while a yellow card dished out to Bulls flank Ruan Steenkamp in the 33rd minute for a dangerous tackle then provided the Durban-based side with a numerical advantage.
It proved to be decisive as Ruan Botha barged over for a try soon after, while with the final play of the half, Bosch slotted a drop goal to suddenly send the Sharks into a handy 16-10 lead.
The Bulls did manage to cut the deficit to three points when flyhalf Tian Schoeman slotted his second penalty soon after the restart, but the match quickly swung back in the Sharks’ favour when Bosch went over to score in the corner just before the hour mark.
Although it was a superb finish by Bosch, credit for the try really belongs to Lwazi Mvovo, who produced a beautiful midfield break and then popped a well-timed pass as the ball was sent through the hands for the Sharks’ talented fullback to dot down.
Bosch’s superb touchline conversion provided the Sharks with a 10-point buffer, but they then let the Bulls right back into the contest as two needless penalties were conceded, which Schoeman duly converted.
Yet, Bosch showed good composure to slot his third penalty late in the game, and while the Bulls had one final attacking opportunity, the Sharks did superbly to defend a last-ditch lineout drive and come away with a fourth win of the season.
Sharks – Tries: Ruan Botha, Curwin Bosch. Conversions: Bosch (2). Penalties: Bosch (3). Drop goal: Bosch.
Blue Bulls – Try: Jamba Ulengo. Conversion: Tian Schoeman. Penalties: Schoeman (4).
Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Inny Radebe, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 John-Hubert Meyer, 18 JC Astle, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Hanco Venter, 21 S'bura Sithole, 22 Rhyno Smith.
Blue Bulls – 15 Duncan Matthews, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha (c), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Nic de Jager, 19 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 André Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images