The Sharks have elated and disappointed in equal measure this season, but even their most die-hard fans will find their performance in a 40-10 defeat to the Bulls on deflating in the extreme, mostly because nobody saw it coming.
It was critical for the Sharks to build on their recent form in New Zealand in the first of two home derbies before their bye, but they ran into a Bulls side that played with energy and hunger, not to mention skill in abundance at Kings Park.
The hyped-up Sharks were outplayed in every department.
It is as simple as that, and the Bulls will return to Pretoria primed to storm up the table of the SA Conference.
For the Sharks, it is back to the drawing board ahead of next Saturday’s visit from the Stormers.
From a national point of view, Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus would have been pleased with the individual performances of some of the Bulls players, notably fullback Warrick Gelant, who has surely played his way into the Bok No.15 jersey after scoring three immaculate tries.
The Sharks’ best moment of the game was the three points kicked by Robert du Preez in the second minute to give them the lead. It was downhill after that as Gelant and his teammates dominated their hosts.
Sharks – Try: Andre Esterhuizen; Conversion: Robert du Preez; Penalty: Du Preez.
Bulls – Tries: Warrick Gelant (3), Adriaan Strauss, Penalty Try and Johnny Kotze; Conversions: Handre Pollard (3) and Manie Libbok (1).