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Bulls v Sharks - Live
Bulls 20 - 19 Sharks. The Bulls have pulled it off in what has been a great match. Given the season that they've had, it was a top effort from the Sharks, they really came out with great intensity, physicality, a willingness to run and a Trojan-like defence. Despite all of that the Bulls have managed to come out on top. They stuck at it and Steyn put over his kicks as always and that's made the difference, as it was when the two sides met in Durban. The Bulls now top the table and are well placed to secure a possible home final. That's it for the penultimate week of Super Rugby round robin play, do join us again next week. Cheers.
80 The Sharks collect and set up the maul and it's brought down illegally, the Sharks have a penalty! Lambie is off with an injury and James is in the sin bin so it's Viljoen will have the kick from about 30 out and five in - he misses it to the right!
79 The Sharks disrupt another line-out but Kirsten manages to get his hands on it and bulldozes into the Sharks 22. Kirchner taps it in behind the defence and puts the Sharks on their heels. There is suspicion of foul play though and we go back for a penalty on Reinach just inside the Sharks half. Viljoen puts in a big kick and the Sharks have a line-out on the Bulls 22.
75 Knock on from Kirchner just outside the Sharks 22 - can the men from Durban pull this out of the fire with just 14 men?
73 YELLOW CARD, SHARKS, JAMES. In the build up to the try there was a high tackle from James (no malice, just caught off balance) and he's rightly shown a yellow card. The Sharks man has no complaints and apologies.
73 CONVERSION, BULLS, STEYN 20-19. The Bulls are back in front as Steyn adds the extras from in front.
73 TRY, BULLS, VERMAARK 18-19. Vermaark goes over! Having been camped in the Sharks 22 it's a breakaway that sees the Bulls get the try they want! Engelbrecht starts the move and makes it well into Sharks territory before off-loading inside to the scrum-half who goes over.
71 Frustration fore Reinach as he slices his clearance into touch. The Sharks needed to relieve some pressure but haven't been able to. He gets another chance though as Daniel steals another line-out! Reinach clears.
70 The Bulls take a tap penalty, they've abandoned their normal tactics of taking the three points. Knock on by the Bulls! After all of that they've lost possession.
69 Great work from Engelbrecht as he bursts through the midfield and is just five short! The Bulls hit it up strongly. The Sharks are holding out but only just, edging back with each carry. They're over 15 phases and after a few penalty advantages, play is brought to a halt and the Sharks are given a yellow card warning.
66 Daniel gets up really high to compete at the line-out and it causes problems for the Bulls and the ball is knocked on. The ball spurts out on the Bulls side of the scrum but Vermaak can't collect and the Sharks are able to clear.
64 The Sharks are once again force to pull the maul down. The home side are just short and as the Sharks defence rushes up, Steyn dabs it over the top for Kirchner to run on to. Reinach and Mtawarira come across and manage to disrupt proceedings and the ball is knocked backwards first by the prop and then the Bulls full-back. We go up to the TMO to check for possible foul play and a potential try, all while referee Jafta receives some attention to his back but after all of that we go back for a penalty for collapsing the maul.
63 The Bulls get the maul going and it's brought down illegally by the Sharks. Steyn sets up another line-out.
62 Steyn stays calm and collected and finds touch on the 10m. Botes, Cooper and Beast all have a chance to run it up but Daniel runs away from his support a touch and is isolated and the Bulls have a penalty. Steyn does his bit, setting up a line-out 10 out from the Sharks line - great stuff.
60 A big kick from James puts the Bulls inside their 22. The Bulls are stuttering as the line-out goes wrong and James puts in a little chip behind Kirchner to set up another line-out five out. Jean Deysel is off - he's had a big game. The Bulls have had to make 77 tackles to the 30 of the Sharks, they've really been asked to do a lot of work.
58 Reinach is on for McLeod and he puts James under a bit of undue pressure as the fly-half clears to not far out of his 22. A knock on from the Bulls hands the Sharks possession. This is a big test for the conference leaders, they're being given a big run here.
56 Pressure kick from the sideline for Lambie but he just can't find the target with the conversion.
55 TRY, SHARKS, NDUNGANE 19-13. Great hands over the top from Ludik puts Coetzee into some space and the flanker does well to come back inside. The Sharks have been trying that little chip over the top all day and they paid the price on one occasion but it's worked again this time as James chips it out wide, the bounce is right for Odwa Ndungane and he collects and runs over.
53 The ball is lost forward by the Sharks and Basson hacks it ahead. James is back into the 22 to cover and Basson dives on top of him and is penalised. Daniel takes it quickly and they break out of the 22. James puts in a massive kick that just rolls out dead but they go back for a penalty which Labie puts out about 30m from the Bulls line.
51 From out wide Lambie just can't get it to curl around in time and that's three points gone. Keegan Daniel comes on - he'll want to prove a point.
50 Hewitt knocks it forward to give the Bulls possession in the Sharks 22. The ball goes loose and McLeod hacks it ahead. 'Beast' is leading the chase for the Sharks but Kirchner gets back and grabs it. A poor pass sells Basson down the river and he's forced to hold on and concedes the penalty.
47 PENALTY, SHARKS, LAMBIE 14-13. The centre's radar is back on track as he makes mo mistake with that one, it was in front and he stroked it down the middle.
47 Some great work from Odwa Ndungane as he is forced to retreat to collect a pass from behind him and bumps off three defenders as he gets the Sharks back on the front foot. The Sharks move into the opposition half and Flip van der Merwe gives away a penalty for a late hit on Jannie du Plessis to give Lambie a shot at goal that will put the Sharks in front.
46 The Sharks are making some early inroads but the Bulls are up for both the running and the physicality.
43 PENALTY, SHARKS, LAMBIE 11-13. The kick is in front for Lambie but at the moment nothing is easy for him. He nails it over though, that will hopefully build some confidence.
42 A neat bit of work down the blindside from the Sharks first up but a pass inside from Mvovo to Ludik doesn't quite go to hand. Poor pass from Hougaard as he delivers the ball to the feet of Kirchner inside the 22 and the full-back knocks it on.
Away we go Morne Steyn gets us back underway!
Bulls 13-8 Sharks. It's been Helter Skelter stuff in Pretoria with both sides keen to run the ball. The boot of Morne Steyn has the Bulls ahead at the half but the game is still anyone's for the taking.
40 Lambie has the shot from 46m out but the fly-half doesn't have it, it's a disappointing kick. That's the half.
40 Mvovo is put into space down the far touchline and he puts in the grubber into the 22. Hougaard gets across to cover and the Bulls clear. The Sharks look to move the ball quickly through the hands but a flick on from van der Merwe doesn't find Ludik but rather touch. Penalty to the Sharks from the line-out as Stegmann plays the ball on the ground.
37 Basson knocks on the 22 on the Sharks 10m line. Neither side is giving an inch here as the runners are hitting it up hard and the big tackles are also flying in. The Bulls manage to snap up the ball at ruck time but Serfontein is penalised for being off-side as a chip kick is put in over the midfield. Wow, from about 56m out Viljoen is going for posts! He has the distance but it's just wide.
33 An interesting move from the Sharks as James clears on the near touchline from the scrum. The Bulls carry it up but with some big hits coming in Steyn goes for the drop but doesn't make good contact under pressure from Ludik.
32 Super work from the Bulls backs! Kirchner and Basson with some great first phase attack. It's moved wide and Hattingh is just a few metres out but it's knocked on at the base Flip van der Merwe.
31 JJ Engelbrecht carries strongly before Hattingh is carried back strongly by the defenders! The Bulls clear and the Sharks look to run it back at them from inside their own half. Steyn and Ludik exchange kicks and from a tight angle the Sharks man finds touch on his 10m line.
29 Du Plessis and Deysel are back on the park. Sharks scrum on their own 10m line as Akona Ndungane can't hold on to an up and under. Lambie takes on the defence from the centre berth before Coetzee follows suit. The ball goes wide and the Sharks have men out wide but with space running out Bismrack tries a little inside backhand pass to Viljoen who can't hold on. He perhaps wasn't expecting that
26 CONVERSION, BULLS, STEYN 13-8. Steyn certainly is quite a kicker, from the touchline he eases it over seemingly with little effort.
25 TRY, BULLS, BASSON 11-8. Van der Merwe does well to take the restart under pressure. The Bulls are penalised at the ruck and the Sharks take it quickly. They're made to pay though as the ball is turned over and Steyn puts in a cross kick that is taken calmly by Basson and as the Bulls had a massive overlap he was able to go over unchallenged.
23 PENALTY, SHARKS, LAMBIE 8-6. A pressure kick for Lambie even though it's in front and he makes no mistake.
22 Kyle Cooper is on in du Plessis' absence and it can't find his jumper but is able to grab hold of the loose ball as it falls on the Bulls' side. The Sharks spread it wide and the Bulls are penalised for illegal use of the hands.
21 A messy scrum from the Bulls and McLeod is all over Hougaard. Kirchner hammers it into the Sharks 22 and it's returned to Steyn who finds touch on halfway. The Sharks won't be too disappointed with that.
19 The Bulls look to target James' channel and it doesn't quite work out as Grant Hattingh knocks on. The Sharks do well to get the ball out of the scrum quickly as they're a man down but the pass from McLeod to Ludik running on at pace is forward.
17 Interesting stuff as McLeod throws it in with du Plessis off the field. It's in no way straight but somehow he gets away with it. Ludik hits it up in the midfield but he's held up and it's a Bulls scrum.
16 PENALTY, BULLS, STEYN 6-0. From five inside and 40 out, Steyn gets it to curl in just in time to pick up the three points.
15 YELLOW CARD, SHARKS, DU PLESSIS. Du Plessis' first start is off to a disappointing start as the assistant ref calls play to a halt with a call that there was an elbow to the face.
14 WE have two all-Springbok front rows - should be an interesting battle! The Bulls are solid first up but the Sharks put on pressure as the Bulls try to bash it up. The hosts move it wide and it's a whole different story though as they find space and Basson, Kirchner and others exploit it before a knock on sees the Sharks look to counter from their own 22 as Deysel runs over one of the Bulls defenders.
12 Not much penetration from the Sharks from the line-out and the ball is lost forward by Jannie du Plessis. Bulls scrum 15m inside their half.
11 Dean Greyling is pinged for off-side at the ruck after can der Merwe collected the restart. McLeod takes it quickly and the Sharks are out of their 22 where they're awarded another penalty with the Bulls failing to retreat. Lambie sets up a line-out just on the Bulls side of their 10m line.
10 TRY, SHARKS, LAMBIE 5-3. What a start to the game! The Bulls make a great attack into the Sharks 22 straight from the kick-off but Bismarck du Plessis turns it over and James shows great awareness to pass it wide. Lambie put in a super chip over the top that is collected by Lwazi Mvovo who races down the far touchline. Basson comes across to cover but Lambie is there in support and he takes the inside ball and dives over. Lambie can't add the conversion though.
7 PENALTY, BULLS, STEYN, 3-0. It's just under 50m but Steyn makes no mistake, turning immediately.
6 The ball goes loose from the line-out and Francois Hougaard hacks it ahead. Sharks lock Franco van der Merwe does brilliantly and shows great pace to get back ahead of Hougaard, he can't control it but the Bulls coming in behind it knock on and it's a Sharks scrum. James clears into the Bulls half and the line-out is taken quickly. Wow, this is all action as we first have some aerial ping pong before Odwa Ndungane puts in a chip over the top which he doesn't brilliantly to collect. His pass doesn't go to hand and the Bulls counter. It's run down into the Sharks 22 before the ball is knocked on. They go back for the slightest bit of tugging by Mtawarira and Steyn has a shot at goal.
3 The Sharks move it laterally before James puts in a kick into the 22 where Kirchner takes the mark and finds touch on halfway.
2 Some early kicking and it's the Sharks who come out on top early as McLeod is given a lot of room to run and he breaks into the Bulls 22, finding space that didn't appear to be there. He looses it forward in the tackle though and the Bulls clear to just inside their own half.
Ready to go Despite the switch to centre, it's Pat Lambie who will get us underway.
Team news The Sharks have made one change with Bismarck du Plessis coming into the starting XV. Kyle Cooper is the man to miss out as he drops to the bench. Fly-half Pat Lambie will be turning out in his 50th Super Rugby match, having made his debut for the Durban franchise in 2010.
Team news Springbok fly-half Mornè Steyn returns to the Bulls starting line-up. Wynand Olivier has departed for France, resulting in Jan Serfontein and JJ Engelbrecht combining again, with Serfontein moving to his preferred inside berth. There are also a number of changes on the bench. Jano Vermaak has recovered from his hamstring injury and replaces Rudy Paige, Callie Visagie and Willie Wepener rotate again at hooker and Jurgen Visser comes into the squad as back-up fly-half.
Welcome Hello and welcome to Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria for our coverage of the weekend's final Super Rugby game. The Sharks are now out of the running for the play-offs but the Bulls have plenty to play for as they look to march to the top of the overall standings.
Updates to appear here at 19:00 local (18:00 BST, 17:00 GMT)
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|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
There was loads of great rugby to enjoy over the weekend including a masterclass from New Zealand!
Munster were last crowned PRO12 champions in 2011 and since then have seen their fierce rivals Leinster leading the way as far as the Irish teams are concerned.
So much can change in a week of sporting action and, sure enough, there have been plenty of highs and lows over the past seven days.
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com