Photo credit: Howard Cleland
The Cell C Sharks defeated the Vodacom Bulls 45-12 in their final 2021 Kick-off Pools match played at a soaking wet Jonsson Kings Park in Durban on Friday evening, where they outmuscled and outscored the visitors by seven tries to two.
A dominant first half display saw the Cell C Sharks in rampant mood as they crossed the visitors’ try-line four times plus earning a penalty try for a comprehensive 31-5 halftime lead.
Jake White’s team delivered a much better performance after the break, but after preventing the home team from scoring for much of the second half, their resistance and discipline caved in during the last 10 minutes during which they conceded two tries while also earning two yellow cards in the process.
The home pack of forwards, anchored by their lively front row of Springbok propr Ox Nche and Thomas du Toit, with Fez Mbatha (hooker), dominated the collisions and the set pieces, creating a great attacking platform for their backs.
Despite the slippery conditions and pools of water everywhere on the pitch, the backs and forwards displayed slick handling skills which resulted in some beautifully crafted tries.
The four tries scored by the home side in the opening stanza is a very good indication of just how good the Durbanites bossed the proceedings, while the pressure they applied on the visiting pack early also led to a penalty try being awarded.
The Cell C Sharks scored their tries through Mbatha, Springbok captain and new recruit Siya Kolisi (flank), Marius Louw (centre) and Nche, with Boeta Chamberlain succeeding with two conversions.
Schalk Erasmus, the Vodacom Bulls’ hooker, was yellow carded as a result for collapsing a try-bound driving maul.
Despite playing with just 14 men, the men from Pretoria managed to score their only try of the first half when skipper Nizaam Carr (No 8) was on hand to take a final pass following a quick counter-attack.
The visitors managed to keep the home side in check at the beginning of the second half and they took their scoring chance when centre Dawid Kellerman broke free from a couple of tackles to outpace the defence for their second try of the evening, converted by the experienced flyhalf Morne Steyn converted (31-12).
Replacement back Rynhardt Jonker wiggled his way through a couple of big forwards towards the end, and he was followed over the whitewash barely a minute later by replacement scrumhalf Nohala Nohamba.
The visitors’ effort were also not helped by their panache for yellow cards, which saw Jan Uys (lock) and Carr sent to the cooler for cynical transgressions.
Cell C Sharks – Tries: Fez Mbatha, Siya Kolisi, Marius Louw, Ox Nche, Rynhardt Jonker, Sanele Nohamba, Penalty try; Conversion: Boeta Chamberlain (4).
Vodacom Bulls – Tries: Nizaam Carr, Dawid Kellerman; Conversion: Morne Steyn.