DURBAN – Warrick Gelant scored a hat-trick of tries as the Bulls cruised to a 30-17 Super Rugby win over the Sharks in Durban on Friday night.
This was a result that not many would have expected in a Super Rugby season where the Bulls have managed just three wins, while the Sharks have already secured a playoff place as the second-best side in the Africa 2 conference.
However, the Bulls dominated from start to finish as they simply overpowered the hosts, who lacked the necessary physicality in the absence of Boks such as Jean-Luc du Preez and Tendai Mtawarira.
The Bulls made an industrious start and received due reward when loose forward Nic de Jager pounced on a lost lineout to barge over to score in the eighth minute.
The Sharks did respond with a well-worked try to prop Thomas du Toit, but this was almost immediately cancelled out as the Bulls launched an effective counter-attack of their own, which eventually saw fullback Warrick Gelant dot down under the posts.
It sent out an early statement of the Bulls’ attacking intent, and in the 25th minute, they once again exposed the Sharks’ disorganised defence, with Jan Serfontein putting Gelant away for his second try that sent the visitors into a handy 17-10 lead.
It was an advantage that the visitors took into the break, but with the Bulls having enjoyed their fair share territory and possession during an impressive first-half display, they would have perhaps felt a seven-point lead was not a fair scoreboard reflection.
However, the Bulls extended that lead with a Tian Schoeman penalty soon after the restart, while Sharks wing Sbu Nkosi was then sent to the sin-bin after a dangerous challenge in the air.
Although the Sharks did manage to create a try for Curwin Bosch against the run of play in Nkosi’s absence, the Bulls restored a 10-point lead when Gelant was put away to dot down for his hat-trick of tries just before the hour mark.
It was a score that seemed to take the fight out of the Sharks, and the result was then effectively secured when Schoeman slotted his second penalty in the 71st minute.
Sharks 17 – Tries: Thomas du Toit, Curwin Bosch. Conversions: Bosch (2). Penalty: Bosch (1).
Bulls 30 – Tries: Nic de Jager, Warrick Gelant (3). Conversions: Tian Schoeman (2). Penalties: Schoeman (2).
African News Agency (ANA)