PRETORIA, March 9 (Reuters) - The Bulls went to the top of Super Rugby’s South African conference as talismanic flyhalf Handre Pollard led his side to a comprehensive 37-14 victory over the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Springbok pivot was again key to the Bulls’ success with his clever passing setting up tries and his boot adding 22 points in a comprehensive victory in the last game of week four action in the southern hemisphere competition.
The Bulls have now beaten their three South African rivals - the Stormers, Lions and Sharks – in the first month of the new season with their only blemish coming away in Buenos Aires against the Jaguars.
The Pretoria side were 19-0 ahead at half-time after Pollard produced a defensive-splitting flat pass, delivered with perfect timing, to set away his backline for a 20th minute try, which was finished off by Jesse Kriel.
Pollard also added the conversion plus four penalties before the break as the hosts kept up a high tempo and forced their visitors into costly errors.
The Sharks threatened a comeback as they scored right at the start of the second half through centre Jeremy Ward, looking determined to get back into the contest.
But Pollard quickly helped restore the home’s side lead with another sublime pass that saw the Bulls break the line and Rosko Specman eventually go over in the corner.
With 20 minutes left, the Sharks were still in with a chance of turning the contest after Daniel du Preez’s try reduced the home lead to 13 points.
It came after some strong scrummaging and a clever inside pass from scrumhalf Louis Schreuder.
But as the Sharks looked to finish stronger, the Bulls showed their defensive ability as well to hold them out and Pollard capped a satisfying afternoon’s work with a drop goal, before winger Specman ran in his second try after a turnover on the final whistle. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Tony Lawrence )