April 14, 2018 / 5:26 PM / 10 days ago

Rugby-Gelant hat-trick leads Bulls to crushing Super Rugby win over Sharks

DURBAN, April 14 (Reuters) - Flying fullback Warrick Gelant scored a hat-trick of tries as the Bulls rampaged to a 40-10 bonus-point victory over the Sharks in a South African Super Rugby derby at King’s Park on Saturday.

The Springbok hopeful showed pace and guile to give his side a healthy early lead that they never relinquished and record back-to-back wins for the first time in a year.

Hooker Adriaan Strauss and wing John-Ben Kotze also crossed the line, while the visitors were awarded a penalty try as their powerful pack bullied the Sharks into submission.

The home side’s only score came via centre Andre Esterhuizen as their pre-season promise looks to be fizzling out, with them having now recorded just two wins in eight games in the competition.

The victory moved the Bulls into second in the South African conference but still 11 points behind runaway leaders the Lions, though they do have a game in hand.

The visitors also extended their unbeaten run against the Sharks to six games and claimed just a second away victory in their last 11 matches on the road, with the previous one also coming in Durban last year.

The electric Gelant scored his first try when he profited from a clever kick behind the Sharks defence by Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard, sprinting forward to dot down the ball.

Gelant was the architect of his second though, chasing down his own grubber kick as he grabbed a double inside the opening eight minutes.

The Bulls pushed the lead out to 18 points when veteran former Bok skipper Strauss, playing a South African record 150th Super Rugby game, barged over at the back of a maul to add to his hat-trick of scores last time out against the Stormers.

The home side narrowed the halftime score to 21-10 when Esterhuizen used his strength to burst through the Bulls defence and grab the only try for the Sharks.

The Pretoria-based side regained the ascendancy early in the second period when they were awarded a penalty try after their maul drove towards the Sharks line and was illegally collapsed.

Prop Thomas du Toit was sent to the sin-bin for his part in the incident and there was no further score for 30 minutes before Gelant secured his hat-trick with another kick-and-chase score and Kotze completed the rout in the final minutes. (Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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