An 11th-hour change, Lionel Cronje starting in the No 10 jersey in place of Curwin Bosch - who withdrew with a mild hamstring strain - had no ill effect on the Durban side’s attacking prowess.
Full of enterprise, the fast hands and even faster tempo of the hosts overwhelmed the French visitors, while they were eaten alive by the Springbok-laden pack at scrum time.
As a result, they were shutout in the first half and reduced to 13 men shortly after the half-hour mark with front-rowers Christopher Vaotoa and Clement Maynadier seeing yellow. A brace by livewire scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse started the party for the Cell C Sharks, who led 22-0 at the break.
Guilty of becoming a bit too loose, they had to wait until the 59th minute to seal the bonus point, Marnus Potgieter scoring the first of his two quick-fire tries with Bordeaux again reduced to 13 following yellow cards for Matéo Garcia and Alban Roussel to continue their unbeaten run in the European showpiece in style.
A scrum penalty allowed Cronje to open the scoring for the Cell C Sharks - who edged Bordeaux in their backyard in the previous round after having started their debut campaign with a 39-31 home win over Harlequins - with six minutes on the clock.
They suffered a big blow when they lost Bongi Mbonambi to injury just two minutes later, Kerron van Vuuren replacing the Springbok hooker.
Jaden Hendrikse did well to score the first try of the match, showing good presence of mind to take a quick tap and turning out of a tackle to touch down.
🌪💫🌪💫— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 14, 2023
Jaden Hendrikse spins in to score the first @SharksRugby #HeinekenChampionsCup try of the day pic.twitter.com/ONxOKk0YFJ
Ultra-determined chasing by Potgieter almost saw him score a try under Bordeaux’s noses but he was adjudged to have dotted down on the dead-ball line.
Instead, it was Hendrikse who stretched the Cell C Sharks’ lead with a second sniping score, this one converted by Cronje, who’d missed his previous effort, to make it 15-0 after 22 minutes.
The hosts’ scrum dominance was further rewarded when loosehead Vaotoa was yellow-carded for failing to stay square and hold up his end against Thomas du Toit and he was joined in the sin bin by hooker Maynadier moments later for not rolling away in the lead-up to Gerbrandt Grobler scoring the Durbanites’ third try.
Captain Maxime Lucu, who’d missed two shots at goal from near the halfway line in the first half, had an easier task and put Bordeaux on the board four minutes into the second stanza before missing a relatively straight-forward kick next.
The momentum they’d built was lost when Garcia saw yellow for taking out Boeta Chamberlain in the air on 51 minutes. Van Vuuren barreled over from a lineout play but Corentin Coularis did well to hold him up over the line.
After Roussel received his 10 minutes in the bin for pulling down Hyron Andrews in the lineout, Potgieter pounced on the double to complete the job for the dominant Durbanites.
Cell C Sharks 32 (22) – Tries: Jaden Hendrikse (2), Gerbrandt Grobler, Marnus Potgieter (2). Conversions: Lionel Cronje (2). Penalty goal: Cronje.
Union Bordeaux-Bègles 3 (0) – Penalty goal: Maxime Lucu.