Warrick Gelant bags a hat-trick as Bulls dismantle Sharks in Durban
It says much of the evolution of the Bulls that they ruthlessly dismantled the Sharks on their home patch in conditions that ought to have favoured the hosts’ direct, confrontational approach.
That the visitors racked up 40 points in appalling conditions should deeply alarm the Sharks.
It was a clash of playing culture with the Bulls gravitating to space in the first quarter - masterfully manipulating the Sharks’ defence to achieve that aim.
They ran into a handy lead when the going was still good, and drove the dagger in late when the game was well out of the Sharks’ grasp.
The brilliant Warrick Gelant helped himself to a hat trick of tries, but again the Bulls showed that there is considerably more to them than a team with an, at times, happy-go-lucky look about them in attack.
There is substance too, and when the going got tough, and in this instance a soaking wet field, the Bulls forwards dug in.
Yes, their line-out was a little wonky in the atrocious conditions, but they asserted themselves in the scrum and exacted some crucial turnovers in contact when they needed to.
Loosehead Pierre Schoeman’s stock continues to rise, lock Lood de Jager was prominent especially early on, while hooker Adriaan Strauss, on the occasion of his 150th Super Rugby appearance, delivered another honest shift.
Moreover, the visitors also drew the sting from the Sharks’ attack with resolute defence, particularly when the home side tried to play themselves back into the contest in the latter part of the first half.
Coming off a bye after beating the Stormers, the Bulls looked rejuvenated, while the hosts looked jaded from their travels to Australasia.
The initial cloudy and blustery conditions took a turn for the worse as soft penetrative rain soaked the surface.
It should have proved manna from heaven for the Sharks, but the Bulls have extended their areas of competence at this level under the tutelage of John Mitchell.
The Sharks may appear to be better staffed, but it were the Bulls who looked the better tooled team.
Behind a pack that didn’t give an inch Handre Pollard again pulled all the right strings as the Sharks spluttered from one error to the next.
They weren’t alone.
You’d expect with a name like Egon Seconds the referee would be an enthusiastic proponent of the concept of time, but he was quite the opposite.
His pre-occupation with referring matters that had missed his real time scrutiny to the television match official, infuriated an already tetchy crowd.
Other Super Rugby weekend results:
Friday, April 13 2018:
Hurricanes 25 - 13 Chiefs
Saturday, April 15 2018:
Sunwolves 10 - 24 Blues
Rebels 22 - 25 Jaguares
Highlanders 43 - 17 Brumbies
Waratahs 37 - 16 Reds
Sharks 10 - 40 Bulls