DURBAN – A masterclass in the wet by Curwin Bosch ensured that the Sharks extended their lead at the top of the Currie Cup log with an 18-5 win over the Blue Bulls at Kings Park on Saturday.
The Sharks have now won nine matches in a row and lead the Currie Cup log by 13 points and have clinched a home semi-final.
With rain having descended on Durban throughout the day, the match actually started in dry weather, although conditions were still damp.
And that resulted in a number of handling errors from both sides, which increased as a torrential downpour landed at the start of the second half and remained at the stadium for the last 40 minutes.
That is why the Sharks needed their general Bosch to step up, and the 20-year-old pivot did just that.
The forwards did their job too, Springbok squad member Dan du Preez and captain Ruan Botha carrying the ball well in the tight-loose, while flanks Keegan Daniel and Jacques Vermeulen were also industrious.
But the man who pulled the strings and held everything together was Bosch, who put in some superb kicks downfield, varied the Sharks attack with little chips over the top, and also drilled a superb drop goal from 40 metres out to finish things off.
The Bulls pack had a number of powerful young guns in the shape of lock Ruben van Heerden and flank Jannes Kirsten, but they never quite got into the game, while the visiting forwards lost the scrum battle as well.
It didn’t take long for the Sharks to get on to the scoreboard, and it was that man Bosch who engineered it. Du Preez punched a hole in the Bulls defence, and Bosch’s cross-kick was perfectly weighted and bounced into the hands of flying Springbok squad member Sbu Nkosi, who made sure of the five-pointer.
Fullback Garth April was also full of running and cut the Bulls defence to pieces in the eighth minute, but he lacked support and the move came to naught.
But 10 minutes later, Robert du Preez’s outfit dotted down again, with scrumhalf Michael Claassens spinning out a long pass to Daniel, who had enough momentum to force his way over.
Both teams were unable to generate further points before the break, but the Bulls had a glimmer of hope in the 51st minute.
Despite their scrum going backwards, they managed to hold on to possession, and when the ball squirted out from the ruck, lock Aston Fortuin was the quickest to react to dive on the ball and score his first Currie Cup try.
Man of the Match Bosch, though, quickly restored the 10-point advantage for the Sharks with a penalty, and after missing another long-range effort later, he produced a superb drop goal to put the result to bed.
Scorers: Sharks 18 (12): Tries: Sbu Nkosi, Keegan Daniel. Conversion: Curwin Bosch (1). Penalties: Bosch (1). Drop goal: Bosch (1).
Blue Bulls 5 (0): Try: Aston Fortuin.
African News Agency