The Sharks outscored the Vodacom Bulls seven tries to two to wrap their preparation series campaign with a comprehensive 45-12 win at Kings Park on Friday.
Pre-match prediction: Before this encounter kicked off we asked SARugbymag.co.za readers to vote on the outcome they expected. Interestingly, only 46% voted for a Sharks win and the majority of 54% incorrectly called for a Bulls triumph.
Gameflow: The Sharks were full value for this victory. In a lively match that produced end-to-end action, which was well aided by superb handling despite the tough playing conditions, the hosts made the perfect start to seize control from the outset.
Despite the wet outfield and slippery ball, the Sharks had already opened a 19-point lead a quarter of the way in, and that margin could’ve been far greater had flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain not shanked a couple of his conversion attempts. Ultimately, they outscored the visitors five tries to one for a 31-5 advantage at the break.
The second half was a subdued affair in comparison to the first, with the only points in the third quarter coming courtesy of a converted try by Bulls fullback Dawid Kellerman. The Sharks were well kept out by the Bulls defence, but the dam wall eventually broke towards the end of the game when they scored two late tries to complete the rout.
Sharks win big boy contest: As a collective, the Sharks forwards were brilliant and their dominance up front laid the foundation for this win. They bossed the scrums and lineouts and committed themselves to most rucks and mauls, putting their Bulls counterparts on the back-foot.
Redemption day: It may have taken 100 minutes, but the Bulls inflicted an agonising 26-19 defeat on the Sharks in the Currie Cup final. And coming into this rematch, the Bulls were again favourites to come away as victors. But the men from Durban played the perfect game to get their revenge and end their preparation for the Rainbow Cup on a winning note.
Kolisi debut: The Springbok captain made his highly-anticipated debut for the Sharks after his equally highly publicised move from the Stormers. And Kolisi didn’t disappointment, marking the start of this new chapter with a well-taken try in the 16th minute after he missed an earlier opportunity to do so.