The Bulls and Sharks played to a contentious draw in Ballito on Saturday.
The teams scored one try each.
The Sharks’ first-half conversion was initially ruled to have been off-target, but after much deliberation by the referees – following the full-time hooter – the kick was deemed to have been legal.
It left the teams tied at 7-all.
Whether it was early season jitters or the baking KwaZulu-Natal coastal heat, both sides battled with ball retention.
It was the visiting Bulls who fluffed their lines the most in trying conditions.
They probably had the lion’s share of possession, but battled to turn advantage into points.
By the time the referee had blown for a water break at the end of the first quarter, neither side had been able to score.
The deadlock was broken when the Bulls kicked a penalty to the corner and from the resultant line-out managed to drive over for the first score of the game.
Five minutes later, Cameron Wright raced in for our first try, this after a speedy break from flank Jacques Vermeulen down the line.
The second half was highly charged and action-packed, but by the time the replacements were sent on around the 50-minute mark, neither side had been able to penetrate some outstanding defence.
Both coaches made wholesale changes with half an hour remaining.
For the Sharks:
For the Bulls:
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements – from: Juan Schoeman, Fezo Mbatha, Khutha Mchunu, Ruben van Heerden, Gideon Koegelenberg, Wian Vosloo, Luke Stringer, Phepsi Buthelezi, Cameron Wright, Robert du Preez, Lwazi Mvovo, Andre Esterhuizen, Jeremy Ward, Leolin Zas, Courtney Winnaar, Kerron van Vuuren, Grant Williams, Rhyno Smith.
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Dylan Sage, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lodewyk de Jager (captain), 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Britz, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements – from: Johan Grobbelaar, Matthys Basson, Conraad van Vuuren, Hanro Liebenberg, Paul Schoeman, Jannes Kirsten, Tim Agaba, Andre Warner, JT Jackson, Jade Stighling, Divan Rossouw.