The Bulls have booked their place in the cross-hemisphere Pro14 Rainbow Cup final against Italian side Benetton Treviso at the Stadio di Monigo next weekend, beating the Sharks 34-22 at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday night.
Benetton Treviso, who will be representing the Northern Hemisphere in inaugural final, qualified after their last pool match against Welsh side Ospreys was cancelled due to Covid-19.
The Bulls’ win against the Sharks guaranteed them the South African leg of the tournament, earned through tries by Cornal Hendricks, David Kriel, Stravino Jacobs, Janko Swanepoel and veteran flyhalf Morné Steyn kicking 14 points.
Sharks coach Sean Everitt started without several key players, including Ox Nche and Thomas du Toit, who were replaced by Khutha Mchunu at tighthead and Khwezi Mona at loosehead.
On the positive side, Everitt welcomed stars such as captain Lukhanyo Am, Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and Curwin Bosch to the back starting line-up after they were not available last weekend.
For the Bulls, coach Jake While did not have too many disruptions as he picked the best possible squad with the exception of injured and veteran No.8 Duane Vermeulen.
The Bulls took the lead through two early penalties by Steyn, who has been included in the Springbok squads for the Tests against Georgia and the British and Irish Lions.
The home side responded with the first try of the evening that was scored by JJ van der Mescht following great work by the Sharks forwards, and converted by Bosch.
The Bulls retook the lead when Cornal Hendricks showed the younger Bosch a clean pair of heels on his way to registering the first try for the Bulls, which was converted by Steyn.
The Sharks threatened in the closing stages of the first half but they could not find the second try and had to settle for a penalty that was kicked over by Bosch.
Ten minutes into the second half the Bulls pulled away with a try by David Kriel but the home side reduced the deficit to five points with Siya Kolisi’s try a few minutes later.
The Bulls secured the match through late tries by Stravino Jacobs and Janko Swanepoel to rendering the final try of the game by Sharks’ Anthony Volmink irrelevant as the tie was over as a contest.
Sharks (10) 22
Tries: JJ van der Mescht, Siya Kolisi, Anthony Volmink
Conversions: Curwin Bosch (1), Libbok Manie (1)
Penalties: Curwin Bosch (1)
Bulls (13) 34
Tries: Cornal Hendricks, David Kriel, Stravino Jacobs, Janko Swanepoel
Conversions: Morné Steyn (4)
Penalties: Morné Steyn (2)