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Jake White's Bulls up to third after bossing Sharks

By PA
Bulls' Marcel Coetzee (captain) (2ndR) celebrates his try with teammates during the United Rugby Championship (URC) match between South African teams The Bulls from Pretoria and The Sharks from Durban at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on October 30, 2022. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP) (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images)

Vodacom Bulls climbed to third place in the United Rugby Championship after holding off a Cell C Sharks fightback to record a pulsating 40-27 bonus-point win in Pretoria.

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Tries from Marcell Coetzee, Embrose Papier, Stravino Jacobs and Jan-Hendrik Wessels, plus 20 points from the boot of fly-half Chris Smith, earned the Bulls bragging rights over their South African rivals.

The Sharks overturned a 13-point deficit to briefly lead the derby but scores from Marnus Potgieter, Aphelele Fassi and Phepsi Buthelezi ultimately proved insufficient for victory at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

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A scrappy opening period burst into life just before the interval when David Kriel broke clear to give Coetzee a simple, diving finish under the posts, before Potgieter danced through the home defence at the other end minutes later.

The Sharks, who trailed 16-10 at the break, capitalised on the shift in momentum to briefly lead early in the second period after Fassi crossed following quick ball from right to left and fly-half Boeta Chamberlain, who contributed 12 points across the afternoon, added the extras.

But it proved short-lived as superb quick-fire scores from Papier and fellow replacement Jacobs took the game away from the Durban side, before Wessels added extra gloss, prior to Buthelezi’s late consolation.

BULLS: 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

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REPLACEMENTS: 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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