Blue Bulls beat Sharks to reach final
Ken Borland
May 01, 2010
The Vodacom Blue Bulls will get the chance to atone for last year's slip-up at the death as they recorded a rousing 33-3 (half-time 13-3) victory over the Sharks XV in their Vodacom Cup semifinal at Loftus C in Pretoria on Saturday.

The tight phases was where the match was won and it was here that the Bulls pack called the tune and set the tone for the game.

Flyhalf Francois Brummer, who cleverly directed play throughout, gave the Bulls a headstart with a fourth-minute penalty, but it was merely the lull before the storm as the Sharks competed well in the opening quarter, although a lack of fluency amongst their backs meant they seldom threatened the Bulls' line.

Bulls fullback Tiger Mangweni is one of the experienced old heads in the side and is always dangerous on the counter-attack, which he is always keen on. In the 19th minute, Mangweni read a Sharks attack perfectly, blocked the chip over the top and immediately put the Bulls back in the visitors' 22. A neat grubber through by centre Stefan Watermeyer forced a five-metre scrum and the Sharks forwards were battered into submission, conceding a pushover try to flank Devin Oosthuizen.

Brummer converted and the Bulls were 10-0 up, but the Sharks XV were right back on attack from the kickoff and earned a penalty, which flyhalf Monty Dumond kicked.

But that was where the Sharks XV challenge ended as the Bulls dominated the last three quarters.

With the rain growing ever stronger, the fierce charges of the Bulls tight five proved too difficult to handle for the Natalians, and they conceded another penalty before half-time, which Brummer converted.

Brummer began the second-half with an audacious drop goal, but an odd loss of form with the boot thereafter saw him leave 10 points on the table.

Referee Dilbert November began to take a dim view of the sorry Sharks XV scrum constantly going to ground, presenting Brummer with two more penalty opportunities, which he missed.

Fullback Mangweni then struck again in the 55th minute, chasing his own up-and-under well and winning the contest with Sharks replacement fullback Louis Ludik and then dotting down as the ball sat up nicely for him over the tryline.

Nine minutes later, lock Fudge Mabeta, who gave the visitors hell in the lineouts and in the tight-loose, was driven over the line after a deep lineout throw and Brummer added a couple of points with the conversion (28-3).

With six minutes remaining, another top-class scrum by the Bulls saw eighthman Gerrit-Jan van Velze score a pushover try.

While the Bulls pack will deservedly take the plaudits, hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle was the most impressive part thereof. The Springbok was here, there and everywhere, and if a scrum and lineout is operating as clinically as the Bulls', the hooker is obviously doing his job extremely well.

The lineout jumping of Mabeta and Cornell Hess was also superb, while the silky skills of Watermeyer had much to do with the slickness of the Bulls backline.


Vodacom Blue Bulls - Tries: Devin Oosthuizen, Tiger Mangweni, Fudge Mabeta, Gerrit-Jan van Velze. Conversions: Francois Brummer (2). Penalties: Brummer (3).

Sharks XV - Penalty: Monty Dumond.

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