The Highveld side claimed the African Conference Two title and are now 12 points ahead of the second-placed Cell C Sharks with just two weeks to play. They now have 47 points, the most by any side in the campaign, and on Saturday they scored their tenth win from 13 outings.
The DHL Stormers defeated the Rebels 57-31 in Melbourne, scoring seven tries in their bonus-point away win on Saturday to enable them to consolidate their top spot in the second Africa Conference 41 points. As things stand, the Cell C Sharks are in the wildcard position.
The Cape side’s tally of 57 points are their biggest score yet in a match on Australian turf.
The Toyota Cheetahs dominated the first half against the Western Force but then had to withstand a fierce fightback from the Australian side in the second half to edge the visitors 30-29 in their meeting in Bloemfontein.The Highlanders defeated the Southern Kings 48-18 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday thanks to a late surge which saw them scoring four tries. They led 10-8 at the break.
In the last fixture of the weekend, the Jaguares beat the injury-hit Vodacom Blue Bulls 29-11 in Buenos Aires in very wet conditions to record their third win of the campaign.
Elsewhere, the Chiefs won their match 23-13 against the Crusaders in Suva on the island of Fiji on Friday, while the Brumbies proved too strong for the Reds and won 43-24. In Tokyo, the Sunwolves lost their home clash 57-12 against the Waratahs on Saturday and the Hurricanes defeated the Blues 37-27 in Wellington.
Pablo Matera and Agustín Creevy (2) scored the home side’s three tries in the wet conditions at Estádio Jose Amalfitani, with Piet van Zyl responding for the Vodacom Bulls, whose hopes of making the play-offs took a knock.
With the Cell Sharks losing to the Emirates Lions earlier in the day in Johannesburg, the Pretoria team had an opportunity to move into the wildcard position. However, the home side adapted much better to the slippery and cold conditions to claim a much-needed victory.
The Jaguares led 15-6 at halftime thanks to Matera and Creevy’s tries while Vodacom Bulls replied with two Francois Brummer penalties. Sánchez scored the first points of the second half when he slotted a penalty following a Rudy Paige high tackle. Creevy then crossed for his second try to put the hosts 23-6 in the lead.
Replacement scrumhalf Piet van Zyl gave the visitors hope when he scored a try from a quick tap to make it 23-11 with 20 minutes left to play. The home side defended well while they forced the visitors into errors, Sánchez kicking two further penalties to secure the result.
Jaguares – Tries: Pablo Matera, Agustín Creevy (2); Conversion: Sánchez; Nicolas Penalties: Sánchez (4).
Vodacom Bulls – Try: Piet van Zyl; Penalties: Francois Brummer (2).
The New Zealanders secured a try-bonus point but the score did not reflect the effort of the Kings, who ever gave up the fight.
For the winning side Matt Faddes (3), Dan Pryor, Jack Wilson, Patrick Osborne, Aki Seiuli all scored tries. Lima Sopoaga slotted four conversions, while he and Fletcher Smith also added a penalty each.
Wandile Mjekevu and Steven Sykes replied with tries for the Kings. Louis Fouche converted one try while he and Elgar Watts each succeeded with a penalty.
The Kings gave a spirited performance and was still in the hunt with the score at 20-18 with less than 20 minutes to play. However, the defending champions produced a burst of four tries in the latter stages, which finally took the game away from the PE side.
Kings centre Shane Gates was yellow carded in the first half for a dangerous on Tom Franklin, who landed on his shoulder at a ruck.
Southern Kings – Tries: Wandie Mjekevu, Steven Sykes; Conversion: Louis Fouche; Penalties: Elgar Watts, Fouche.
Highlanders – Tries: Matt Faddes (3), Dan Pryor, Jack Wilson, Patrick Osborne, Aki Seiuli; Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (4), Fletcher Smith; Penalty: Sopoaga.
An enthusiastic crowd of almost 40 000 braved the ice-cold conditions to watch the South African derby, and the home supporters were rewarded by the Emirates Lions who played sparkling rugby.
They outscored the visitors by five tries to two for another try-bonus point win. Led by Jaco Kriel in the injury-absence of regular skipper Warren Whiteley and with Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk again in great form, the home side raced to a pulsating 27-0 halftime lead.
They added ten more points after the break, and it was only after the hour mark that the Durban side were able to score. Lwazi Mvovo and Chiliboy Ralepelle managed a try apiece during that period, but by then the result was already secured.
Ruan Combrinck, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Malcolm Marx, Ruan Ackermann, Jaco Kriel each dotted a try for the home side.
Emirates Lions – Tries: Ruan Combrinck, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Malcolm Marx, Ruan Ackermann, Jaco Kriel. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3). Penalties: Jantjies (2).
Cell C Sharks – Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Chiliboy Ralepelle.
The Bloemfontein outfit were on top in the first half and ran in four tries to lead 27-10 at the break, but they could not sustain their dominance and had to fight hard in the end for the win.
A fierce fightback saw the Perth team take a 29-27 lead late in the second half before a 78th minute penalty from Fred Zeilinga enabled the home side to regain their slender lead.
South African-born flyhalf Peter Grant had a late chance to win the game for the Force but his long-range penalty was well off the mark. The Bloemfontein side were then made to defend for the final few minutes to edge the visitors for a much-needed victory.
Toyota Cheetahs – Tries: Paul Schoeman, Uzair Cassiem, Clayton Blommetjies, Sergeal Petersen; Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (2); Penalties: Zeilinga (2).
Western Force – Tries: Kyle Godwin, Dane Haylett-Petty (2); Conversion: Ian Prior; Penalties: Prior (2), Peter Grant (2).
The Cape side scored four of their tries in the last 15 minutes of the match which allowed them to pull clear and score an important victory to consolidate their position at the top of the Africa Conference One standings. They enjoyed a 23-17 halftime lead.
They reigned supreme in the set-pieces and Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth was outstanding in general play and in the lineouts. Flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis and prop Vincent Koch scored the DHL Stormers’ first half tries, while Du Plessis contributed the rest of the points with his left boot.
Etzebeth, Nick Groom, Damian de Allende, Leolin Zas and Scarra Ntubeni scored a try each in the second period as the Capetonians stormed to their biggest win yet in Australia. Rebels replacement Scott Fuglistaller was shown a yellow card for collapsing a maul. Sefa Naivalu, Ben Meehan, Jonah Placid, Jack Debreczeni were the try scorers for the home side.
Rebels – Tries: Sefa Naivalu, Ben Meehan, Jonah Placid, Jack Debreczeni; Conversions: Debreczeni (4); Penalty: Debreczeni.
DHL Stormers – Tries: Jean-Luc du Plessis, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Nick Groom, Damian de Allende, Leolin Zas, Scarra Ntubeni; Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (5); Penalties: Du Plessis (4).
Other Round 15 results:
Friday, 1 July 2016
Chiefs 23, Crusaders 13
Brumbies 43, Reds 24
Saturday, 2 July 2016
Sunwolves 12, Waratahs 57
Hurricanes 37, Blues 27
The full Vodacom Super Rugby log after Round 15:
|TEAM||PLAYED||WON||LOST||DREW||POINTS FOR||POINTS AGAINST||POINTS DIFFERENCE||TRIES FOR||TRIES AGAINST||LOSS BONUS||TRIES BONUS||POINTS|
|South African Group|
|Emirates Lions (Q)||13||10||3||0||456||294||162||60||36||1||6||47|
|DHL Stormers (Q)||13||8||4||1||366||247||119||38||25||4||3||41|
|Cell C Sharks (Q)||13||7||5||1||294||230||64||32||25||3||2||35|
|Africa Conference 1|
|Africa Conference 2|
|Cell C Sharks||13||7||5||1||294||230||64||32||25||3||2||35|
|New Zealand Conference|