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Hungry Sharks boost Super finals hopes


Monthati Molosankwe

Sharks player JP Pietersen scores a try past the tackle of Bulls player Dean Greyling.

Sharks player JP Pietersen scores a try past the tackle of Bulls player Dean Greyling. Photo: Reuters

The Sharks are one bonus-point victory away from the Super Rugby play-offs after defeating fellow South Africans the Bulls 32-10 at Kings Park on Friday.


They host Cheetahs next Saturday in another South African derby and another bonus-point triumph will assure them of place in the knockout phase, possibly at the expense of title holders Queensland Reds.

The Bulls can also qualify with a bonus-point home win over bottom-of-the-table Lions while the Stormers are set to top the South African conference and secure a bye into the semi-finals.

The Sharks had to win the penultimate-round match to have any hope of finishing among the top six after the league phase of the southern hemisphere provincial championship and laid their victory foundations during the opening half.

Gaining the upper hand from the kick-off through their rampant pack, the Durban franchise scored two tries via Springboks Bismarck du Plessis and JP Pietersen to turn over 20-3 ahead.

A further try from flank and captain Keegan Daniel four minutes into the second half stretched the advantage to 22 points before three-time champions Bulls hit back with a try from full-back Zane Kirchner.

Fly-half Morne Steyn converted to cut the deficit to 25-10 and the home team had to withstand wave after wave of attacks from the Pretoria franchise before breaking out to score the bonus-point fourth try two minutes from time.

The Sharks won a line-out deep in Bulls territory and after several attempts to score were repulsed, scrum-half Charl McLeod threw a long pass to full-back Louis Ludik and he dived over for a try replacement back Meyer Bosman converted.

France fly-half Frederic Michalak kicked two conversions and a penalty before retiring with an injured right shoulder on 73 minutes and inside centre Francois Steyn planted a 55-metre first-half penalty between the posts.

The Sharks showed no ill effects of not having played since June 2 with the Durban team having a bye last weekend after a three-week break for the traditional mid-year Tests.

They won without several injured stars, including fly-half Patrick Lambie, lock Steven Sykes and tearaway flank Willem Alberts, one of the stars when South Africa defeated England 2-0 in a three-Test series last month.

Daniel heaped special praise on Japan-bound No 8 Ryan Kankowski, whose herculean efforts in a brutal physical battle earned him the the man of the match award.

"I am so proud of the boys -- especially Ryan -- and we are going to miss him when he goes overseas. This performance demonstrated that we have strength in depth," said an exhausted but smiling skipper.

Bulls captain and No.8 Pierre Spies had no excuses: "We could never get going and the better team won. The Sharks were hungrier than us and we battled to get out of our half during the opening 40 minutes."

SHARKS 32 (Keegan Daniel, Bismarck du Plessis, Louis Ludik, JP Pietersen tries Frederic Michalak 2, Meyer Bosman cons Michalak, Francois Steyn pens) bt BULLS 10 (Zane Kirchner try Morne Steyn con pen) at ABSA Stadium. Referee: Jaco Peyper.


HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
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