Sharks down Bulls in Durban
February 15, 2014
Sharks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit hits the Bulls' defence
© Getty Images
A last-gasp Patrick Lambie try earned the Sharks a bonus point as they outplayed fellow South Africans the Bulls 31-16 on Saturday in their Super Rugby opener.
Fly-half Lambie dotted down on 83 minutes after sustained pressure as the home side made a perfect start under new coach Jake White. A 2007 World Cup winner as Springboks coach, White moved to Durban after guiding the Brumbies to the final last year. And many pundits are predicting the "special one" of rugby union could go a step further this season and steer three-time runners-up the Sharks to glory.
The Durban outfit, with a new skipper in Springboks hooker Bismarck du Plessis, looked good as they scored three first-half tries en route to a 23-9 half-time advantage.
The Bulls, with 36-year-old lock Victor Matfield coming on in the second half after more than two years in the competitive cold, came within 10 points eight minutes from time. But they could not get the score that could have given them a bonus point and the late sin-binning of left-wing Bjorn Basson was followed by the Lambie try.
Matfield's second-half entry was in line with the Bulls' claim that he will be used "sparingly", and needs more game time before a fair assessment can be made.
Success before a large, appreciative crowd at Kings Park in Durban took the Sharks to the top of the South African conference with five points.
The Sharks secured a bonus-point in their Super Rugby opener against the Bulls (Australia only)
The time for tinkering is over - England must nail their colours to the mast in key positions, writes Phil Vickery
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes
Reports comparing the 2014 Wallabies with their rabble-like predecessors of 2005 are unfair and self-serving, Greg Growden reports