Blue Bulls v Sharks: Currie Cup Round 4 Preview

We Preview Round 4 of the Currie Cup Premier Division match between the Blue Bulls against the Sharks kicking off on Wednesday the 9th of August, Loftus Versfeld.

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Blue Bulls v Sharks | 9 August 17h30 | Loftus Versfeld

Both the Bulls and Sharks go into this midweek clash at Loftus off the back of resounding wins. The Bulls’ victory earlier on Saturday confirmed this Monday was Johannesburg rugby fans’ bluest yet, while the Sharks’ annihilation of the Griquas ensured they keep up the pressure on the early season trendsetters. It will be interesting to see how well the hosts cope on defence against a very attack-orientated Sharks outfit.

To Win (80 Mins)
Blue Bulls 13/20 | Draw 25/1| Sharks 12/10

Blue Bulls
Last season’s runners-up can be proud of the way they’ve gone about their business in the opening rounds of this season’s competition. After their catastrophic Super Rugby season, the northern franchise has seemingly pulled themselves together; following up their away defeat of the Griquas with an impressive 54-22 victory over the Lions on the weekend.

It doesn’t get any easier for Nollis Marais’ Bulle however, as they welcome the red-hot Sharks to Loftus in an unusual Wednesday evening kick-off. The Sharks have accumulated the same amount of points (10) as both the Bulls and Cheetahs and Wednesday offers the Bulls a shot at opening up a gap between themselves and their rivals from Durban.

While their victory over the Golden Lions was comfortable in the end, the fact that the hosts conceded three yellow cards raises questions over their discipline. Their defence too left a lot to be desired, while several handling errors (particularly in the first half) highlighted the fact that this side is still very much a work in progress. That said, the Bulls will look to claim the large scalp of the Sharks this week, who will prove to be their biggest test of their campaign yet.

Sharks
Two wins from three isn't at all a bad return for the Natalians. After a gruelling Super Rugby season, Robert du Preez’s men seem to have hit the ground running in this Currie Cup campaign, and there seems to be a certain swagger in the way they are going about things. Their 41-3 dismantling of the Griquas at Kings Park on Friday was a very promising showing indeed, especially on the attack, where they managed to outscore their opponents by six-tries to nil.

The performance of young Sbu Nkosi in particular was very encouraging to see. The winger’s superb pass to Jeremy Ward (as he seemed destined to be bundled into touch) enabled the centre to dive over, while another assist late on underlined his class. He even managed to score two tries of his own, however, it is his silky skills that set him apart from your typical South African wing - he certainly seems destined for higher honours sooner rather than later.

Verdict: Sharks 12/10
Should the Sharks repeat their patient build-up on attack, as well as continue to variate their play, they will be far too good for as weak a defensive unit as the Bulls. They will look to take their hosts head on, and play a more well-rounded game than we have come to expect from them of late. The Bulls may continue to drop off tackles this Wednesday.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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