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Bulls battle past Sharks

The Bulls ran out 17-10 winners over the Sharks in the return leg of their Super Rugby clash at Kings Park in Durban.

The result moves the Bulls up to second place in the Super Rugby standings - above the Brumbies but below the Hurricanes - while the Sharks' losing bonus point moves them into ninth place.

After a high-scoring 43-35 win for the Bulls in Pretoria, the return match was a lot tighter with no quarter given.

It was often a dour affair but both defences were far more disciplined than in the first leg and determined to produce a bruising encounter.

The opening period was full of intensity as the Sharks lost full-back Odwa Ndungane to injury, but the Bulls were on top to take the lead through Handre Pollard's first penalty of the afternoon.

Fred Zeilinga tied the scores but the Bulls regained the lead when winger Francois Hougaard surged over from a good blindside break shortly before half-time.

The Sharks fought back when flanker Marcell Coetzee rounded off a fine attack at the start of the second half for his fifth try of the season and Zeilinga's conversion gave them a 10-8 advantage.

But the lead only lasted a minute and the accurate boot of Pollard rewarded the Bulls' dominant forward platform.

T hree further penalties put the contest beyond the reach of the Sharks and secured the Bulls a sixth win from nine games.

"We're hugely disappointed," captain Marco Wentzel told the official Sharks website.

"We worked hard on defence this week and that showed, but we lost crucial opportunities in a tight game."

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