The Vodacom Blue Bulls scored two tries in the last two minutes of the match to clinch a 37-36 win (half-time 13-19) over the Sharks XV in their Vodacom Cup quarterfinal at Mr Price Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
The visitors found themselves trailing 36-23 in the 78th minute but they took advantage of their numerical superiority, the Sharks XV hooker Kyle Cooper was sin-binned for a professional foul, to snatch victory.
Fullback Ulrich Beyer dotted down first and three minutes into injury time inside centre Jan Serfontein set off on a jinking run to outstrip the defence to score alongside the posts.
Replacement flyhalf Tony Jantjies then stepped up to kick the winning conversion.
The first half was a cagy affair as both teams settled into an arm wrestle but the Sharks XV established an early lead thanks to three penalties from fullback Gouws Prinsloo who went on to kcik a total of 21 points.
Blue Bulls flyhalf Wesley Dunlop replied with a single penalty of his own as the Sharks XV moved into a 9-3 lead after 20 minutes.
But the visitors were the first team to score a try after a period of sustained pressure inside the Sharks XV’s 22-metre area resulted in Bull Bulls eighthman Gerrit-Jan van Velze flopping over the tryline after taking a scoring pass from scrumhalf Ruan Snyman.
Beyers then kicked a close-range drop goal as the visitors edged into a 13-9 lead.
However, with 10 minutes left in the half Sharks XV flank Francois Kleinhans muscled his way over for a converted try.
Prinsloo then kicked a late penalty as the home team went to the break leading 19-13.
The hosts began the second half in a positive frame of mind and an early Prinsloo penalty was followed by a try for left-wing S'bura Sithole who rounded off a sweeping backline move.
Dunlop narrowed the gap with his second successful penalty as the Bulls, who noticeably upped their intensity in defence and at the breakdown, began a fightback.
As the match entered the final quarter the visitors caught the hosts napping as Dunlop put in a cross-field kick from a penalty inside the Sharks XV’s 22.
Left wing Courtnall Skosan did well to collect the kick to zip over for a converted try.
The Sharks then seemed set for victory as replacement back Chris Jordaan scored a superb individual try only for the home team to suffer heartbreak.
Sharks XV – Tries: Francois Kleinhans, S'bura Sithole, Chris Jordaan; Conversions: Gouws Prinsloo (3); Penalties: Prinsloo (5).
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Courtnall Skosan, Ulrich Beyers, Jan Serfontein; Conversions: Wesley Dunlop (2), Tony Jantjies (2); Penalties: Dunlop (2); Drop goal: Beyers.