The Bulls again showed why they are South Africa’s best team when they comfortably powered to the Rainbow Cup SA competition title by beating the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
The 34-22 victory ensured Jake White’s men will play in the final of the Pro16-Rainbow Cup competition against the winners from the northern hemisphere, Benetton Treviso, in Treviso, Italy this coming weekend.
All the Bulls needed in their last game to qualify for the grand final was a bonus point and they got that by scoring four tries. The only way the Sharks could have qualified is if they won the game, picked up the bonus point and denied the visitors a bonus point.
It was a game that never reached any great heights and the visitors were fully deserving of their victory. They dominated the set-pieces and were ferocious at the breakdowns where Marco van Staden and Marcell Coetzee shone.
While the Sharks tried their best and asked a few questions up front, with young lock JJ van der Mescht impressive as a ball-carrier, the visitors simply had too much fire-power and all-round quality – one of the reasons why they are this country’s strongest and best team.
After a scrappy opening quarter the Sharks scored the game’s first try through Van der Mescht, but the Bulls replied not long after with a try by Cornal Hendricks, whose score helped the visitors into a 13-10 lead at the break.
David Kriel then scored the Bulls’ second soon after half-time, but that was quickly cancelled out by a Siya Kolisi try in the corner.
The Bulls then took control of the match with a quick double strike by Stravino Jacobs and Janko Swanepoel that helped their team into a 34-15 lead.
And not even the sin-binning late on of Van Staden and replacement Trevor Nyakane would deny the Bulls, though Sharks back Anthony Volmink did score a third try for the home team in the 75th minute.
Sharks: Tries: JJ van der Mescht, Siya Kolisi, Anthony Volmink; Conversions: Curwin Bosch, Mani Libbok; Penalty: Bosch
Bulls: Tries: Cornal Hendricks, David Kriel, Stravino Jacobs, Janko Swanepoel; Conversions: Morne Steyn (4); Penalties: Steyn (2)