Bulls fightback rocks Sharks
September 4, 2010
Elton Jantjies turned in a virtuoso display at fly-half in the Golden Lions' win over Western Province © Getty Images
The Blue Bulls breathed new life into their Currie Cup campaign by producing a stirring second-half showing to defeat the Natal Sharks 40-34 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Sharks dominated the opening period in Pretoria and tries from Lwazi Mvovo and Stefan Terblanche helped them into a thoroughly deserved 24-13 lead at the break. However, the Bulls, who were sensationally beaten by the Pumas last weekend, came storming back in the second half, with tries from Ruan Snyman, Jaco Engels and Wynand Olivier turning an increasingly absorbing contest on its head. The shell-shocked Sharks managed to haul themselves to within striking distance when Alistair Hargreaves touched down with just six minutes to play but the Bulls held on to claim a morale-boosting win.
The Golden Lions propelled themselves into play-off contention by coming from behind to claim a thrilling 46-28 victory over second-placed Western Province in Johannesburg on Friday. There was no doubt about the star of the show, with Lions fly-half Elton Jantjies contributing a staggering 31 points to the home side's cause. However, Michael Killian also played his part, scoring a try in either half as well as creating another.
The Free State Cheetahs strengthened their bid for a top-four finish by edging out Griquas 33-28 in an absorbing clash in Kimberley. Naas Olivier had a terrific game for the home side, racking up a try, two conversions, two penalties and a drop goal as he amassed a personal tally of 18 points. However, while the Griquas also posted two further tries through Burger Schoeman and Cecil Kemp, Olivier's heroics ultimately proved in vain.
The Pumas followed up their shock win over the Bulls last weekend with a nail-biting 27-26 win over the still winless Leopards in Potchefstroom. The Pumas began in stirring fashion, racking up two early tries through Braam Pretorius and Shaun Venter. But the Leopards responded well to their ignominious start with Theo van Wyk crossing on 15 minutes before eventually edging ahead courtesy of a penalty from Clayton Durand. However, it was the Pumas who led at the break following a penalty from Pretorius and a try from Johan Jackson. The visitors pulled further clear when Tiann Meyer crossed shortly after the interval.
The Leopards refused to give in and drew to within a point thanks to a try from Dumisani Matyeshana and two more successful kicks from Durand but, despite throwing everything at their visitors in the closing stages, they could not manage the score which would have arrested a run of nine successive defeats in this year's competition.
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league