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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 May 2007, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Sharks 19-20 Bulls
Bryan Habana
Springbok wing Habana's late try gave Bulls the win

Coastal Sharks (14) 19
Tries: Pietersen, Van den Berg
Pens: Montgomery (3)

Northern Bulls (10) 20
Tries: Spies, Habana
Cons: Derick, Hougaard (2)
Pens: Hougaard (2)

The Northern Bulls snatched a dramatic 20-19 victory over the Sharks with a converted try in injury time in the all-South African Super 14 final.

Sharks lock Albert van den Berg scored to give the home side a 19-13 lead in the 78th minute, but Bulls winger Bryan Habana hit back in the 82nd in Durban.

Derick Hougaard's conversion gave the Bulls their first Super 14 title.

"I'm speechless," said Habana. "It was a really gutsy performance - we showed that never say die spirit."

Sharks captain John Smit called the match an "epic", saying: "This last-second defeat has killed us - but well done to the Bulls, they stuck out till the very end. That was true character."

The Bulls are the first South African side to win the southern hemisphere's premier club competition.

Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer added: "I feel for the Sharks, they were very unlucky at the end - they were the better side on the day."

Percy Montgomery gave the Sharks the lead with an early penalty before Bulls number eight Pierre Spies went over from a line-out after skipper Victor Matfield opted to kick for touch instead of going for goal after winning a penalty.

The Sharks hit back quickly through winger JP Pietersen, who intercepted a pass from Spies on the halfway line to romp home from 50m.

Montgomery missed the conversion, but then sandwiched a Hougaard penalty with two of his own for a 14-10 half-time lead.

But the Sharks dominance waned as the Bulls won a penalty inside the home side's 22 on 60 minutes and Hougaard knocked the ball over to close the gap to just a point.

The visitors from Pretoria continued to pile on the pressure, but the home side remained firm in defence and edged clear when replacement lock Van den Berg found a way through.

Francois Steyn missed the conversion which would have given the Sharks an eight-point lead.

And with the last move of the game, Springbok wing Habana beat two defenders to score under the posts and offer Hougaard an easy conversion for the win.

The event, which features 14 teams from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, began as the Super 12 in 1996, expanding to Super 14 in 2005.



SEE ALSO
Crusaders power to Super 14 title
27 May 06 |  Rugby Union


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