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The Vodacom Bulls proved too strong for their visitors, recording a resounding victory over the Cell C Sharks, scoring four tries in comparison to three from the coastal outfit. The victory sees the Vodacom Bulls climb the table standings, to three, having won an impressive five from the opening seven of the current Vodacom United Rugby Championship season.

In a match played in front of some 21 000 fans at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, the battle of the North versus South was truly a spectacle to behold. Using the fixture to help raise awareness and much-needed funding for CANSA and PinkDrive, two organizations whose work is dedicated to helping those facing cancer, amongst other activities.

The home side, draped in pink, began the game with great confidence, combining moves that threatened the Sharks’ last line of defence. After 30 minutes of play, only a penalty separated the two sides, until Marcell Coetzee broke the middle of the field to go over for a try under the poles. The visitors soon retaliated to send both teams into the halftime break, separated by 6 points [16-10] in favour of the hosts.

BBCo. Director of Rugby, Jake White, lauded his side’s ability to dictate the game against a very strong Sharks side was most impressive.

“Coming into the game (in an interview) I was asked what was going to win the game? I said the first 20 minutes and I am happy that we were outstanding in the first 20 minutes, even though we did not finish [our moves] with a couple of unforced errors, a forward pass and a couple of knock-ons’ in their 22. It is never easy playing against the Sharks, they are a well-resourced team, so it is nice to get a win against them,”

“We know the Sharks play an aerial game; they kick a lot and try to win the ball back and today that is where they try to attack the game because that becomes open play. Today we caught well and our players really played well, in a big game with an opposition that has a great backline,”

Impressively, the Vodacom Bulls dotted down three of their four tries in the final 14 minutes of the game, a crucial run considering that their opponents on the day were most threatening in the third quarter of the game. At one point, the Durban outfit lead 20-19 after Aphelele Fassi and Phepsi Buthelezi added tries to Marnus Potgieter’s opening try for their team.

Vodacom Bulls’ mentor, White, applauded his herd for the way they controlled the game, especially through their scrumming.

“Our scrum was outstanding today; from our first scrum, we were really good. Improvements from when I started here and now our scrum is our biggest strength. It is good that we have improved in that department,”

“Look, there are still a lot of things that we need to look at, such as how we allowed them soft tries but gees, we have done well in the opening seven games, and the way we look at it is, we are 1/3 into the pathway towards the final. With fourteen games to come, there is no reason why we cannot make it playing as well as we are currently,”

For his efforts, David Kriel was named the man of the match, a reward the versatile player credited to his team and the Loftus faithful.

“It was a very tough game today against the Sharks. What an atmosphere and what an honour it is to play in an almost packed Loftus, I am very chuffed with the effort and being able to make the Vodacom Bulls supporters proud. What a day, what a result, couldn’t be happier!”

The Vodacom Bulls will now go on a break, as the Vodacom United Rugby Championship takes a brief pause with the attention of world rugby shifting towards the November international fixtures. Once the competition resumes, the Pretoria outfit will host Ospreys (Saturday, 26 November) followed by Cardiff Rugby (Saturday, 3 December) – fixtures that will also serve as preparation for the beginning of the European Rugby Champions Cup, which kicks off on the second week of December.

Speaking on the timing of the international break, White commented: “The Vodacom United Rugby Championship is a tough competition and the fact that we toured and have niggling injuries means the break is most welcome and probably well-timed for us. Hopefully, by the time we return, we will have all our resources, and switch on again and focus on our two games.”


Tries: Marcell Coetzee, Embrose Papier, Stravino Jacobs, Jan-Hendrik Wessels.

Conversions: Chris Smith (4)

Penalty: Smith (4)



1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 3. Francois Klopper, 4. Walt Steenkamp, 5. Ruan Nortje, 6. Marcell Coetzee (C), 7. Marco van Staden, 8. WJ Steenkamp, 9. Zak Burger, 10. Chris Smith, 11. Sbu Nkosi, 12. Harold Vorster, 13. Cornal Hendricks, 14. David Kriel, 15. Johan Goosen.


16. Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17. Simphiwe Matanzima, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Janko Swanepoel, 20. Ruan Vermaak, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Stravino Jacobs, 23. Wandisile Simelane.

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