The Bulls scored six tries to beat the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday to successfully defend their Currie Cup title with a record 34-point margin of victory.
The 44-10 scoreline in the Bulls’ favour surpasses the previous record of 33-9 as the biggest winning margin in a Currie Cup final.
Prior to this year, the Bulls had not contested a Currie Cup final since 2009. Now, in the space of nine months since the beginning of 2021, they’ve played in two Currie Cup deciders and have been crowned champions on both occasions.
Unfortunately for the Sharks, they were on the receiving end of both Currie Cup final results this year. The difference between the two games are, in the January final they finished within seven points, whereas in Saturday’s match they slumped to a record-breaking defeat.
Coming into this final, the Bulls had always been favourites to take home the title. But the loss of star flyhalf Johan Goosen had seemed a likely leveller in terms of balancing the scales. And yet, the Sharks for all their might on attack, couldn’t hold a candle to the Bulls’ prowess up front and finesse in the backline.
All things considered, Jake White’s Bulls are deserved back-to-back Currie Cup winners.
The Sharks started the game well, courtesy of a varied attack aided by possessional and territorial dominance. But their efforts were well met by the Bulls defence and their dominance at the breakdown and gainline. And it was that commitment that led to the hosts opening the scoring through Harold Vorster in the fourth minute.
Despite conceding against the run of play, the Sharks continued to hoard the lion’s share of possession, although that can be seen as an indictment of their inability to break down the Bulls defensive system.
Three minutes into the second quarter, the Bulls crossed for a carbon copy of the first try, only this time Vorster popped the pass to Lionel Mapoe to dot down.
With neither of their playmakers – Lionel Cronje and Curwin Bosch – exhibiting any enterprise on attack, the visitors opted for three points when they received a penalty in a favourable position on the field. But that’s about as good as it got for them for some time.
From thereon out, it was as if the Bulls shifted up a couple of gears to activate beast mode as they ruthlessly dispatched the Sharks.
Skipper Marcell Coetzee barged over to give his team a commanding 19-3 lead at the break. That scoreline must have disheartened the Sharks, because they all but gave up the fight in the second half as the Bulls steamrolled their way to victory.
It was one-way traffic with the Bulls running in a further three tries, while Thomas du Doit accounted for the Sharks’ only five-pointer in the 65th minute.
It’s fair to say the Bulls ran riot against their opponents and this form bodes well for their United Rugby Championship campaign.
Photo: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images