Siya Kolisi scores as Sharks blitz blows Bulls away at wet Kings Park
CAPE TOWN - Siya Kolisi grabbed a try on debut as the Sharks blitzed the Bulls by scoring five tries in 25 minutes to set up a convincing 45-12 victory at a sodden Kings Park in Durban on Friday night.
The endeavour on attack from a powerful Sharks outfit in the first half was just too much to handle for a Bulls outfit that was largely second-string in nature.
Despite lots of puddles remaining on the field from the rain that fell before the game, the Sharks didn’t hold back on attack, taking on the Bulls defence with terrific handling and quick thinking with ball-in-hand to run in seven tries on the night.
Coach Sean Everitt expressed his delight with the manner in which his players kept the ball alive in the slippery conditions during a second-half TV interview, and he had every right to be happy with what his side were able to produce in the last preparation game before the Rainbow Cup kicks off on April 24.
The forwards set the tone early on with a couple of dominant scrums, where Bulls tighthead Marcel van der Merwe again battled as he came under serious heat from Ox Nche.
It didn’t take long for the physical ascendancy to result in points, with lively hooker Fez Mbatha dotting down from a lineout drive.
The hosts had a second within the first eight minutes, with yet another maul that was collapsed by the Bulls leading to a penalty try and a yellow card for hooker Schalk Erasmus.
Nizaam Carr’s team actually showed some fighting spirit with 14 men on the field, with fullback Richard Kriel claiming an up-and-under superbly, before centre Marnus Potgieter sped past Kolisi and Lukhanyo Am, while wing Diego Appollis produced a wonderful offload to put Carr over on the left.
But that was a rare bright moment for Jake White’s side. Sbu Nkosi provided the inspiration for the third Sharks five-pointer, which eventually saw Kolisi reaching the whitewash.
It was soon 31-5, as two quick-fire tries from Marius Louw and Nche – with the latter move featuring the Sharks front-rowers on a few occasions – putting the result beyond doubt.
Flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain also steered the Sharks backline smoothly, and mixed up his play well between spreading the ball wide and finding space with tactical kicks.
After a rock n’ roll opening half-hour, the heavy underfoot conditions seemed to take its toll on the players, as they battled to regain the excellent fluidity they showed up to that point.
It was the Bulls who played with the greater energy from the start of the second half, with replacement tighthead prop Mornay Smith making a significant difference in the scrums.
They were rewarded for their determination when young midfielder Dawid Kellerman slipped through an attempted Kolisi tackle, and got up again after he wasn’t held on the ground to go all the way to the line.
FULL TIME:— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) March 26, 2021
The @cellc Sharks were at full value for their 7 tries to 2 victory over @BlueBullsRugby at JONSSON King's Park, with an adventurous game that flew in the face of the conditions blowing the visitors away. #OurSharksForever #SHAvBUL #FrontlineFighters pic.twitter.com/RjN9goo8gP
Kolisi left the field at that 50-minute mark, and Everitt said during a mid-match TV interview that he was pleased with the Springbok captain’s first outing in a black-and-white jersey.
But the Sharks boss would’ve been concerned about what looked like a hamstring injury to No 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe in the first half that forced him off the field, especially with the Rainbow Cup starting in four weeks’ time.
The Bulls never gave up until the final whistle, but a number of handling errors on attack prevented them from adding to their points tally.
The match would have provided White with a number of answers to questions he may have had about his depth, especially amongst the forwards – although the wet conditions made it difficult throughout.
The Sharks finished things off in style with late tries to replacements Rynhardt Jonker and Sanele Nohamba, and the victory would’ve been extra sweet for Everitt after his team lost three out of four matches – including the Currie Cup final – to White’s Bulls last season.
Sharks 45 – Tries: Fez Mbatha, Penalty Try, Siya Kolisi, Marius Louw, Ox Nche, Rynhardt Jonker, Sanele Nohamba. Conversions: Boeta Chamberlain (3), Nohamba (1).
Bulls 12 – Tries: Nizaam Carr, Dawid Kellerman. Conversion: Morné Steyn (1).