- Cell C Sharks remain only unbeaten South African franchise
- Toyota Cheetahs register valuable away-win in Singapore
- DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions, Southern Kings suffer defeats
The Cell C Sharks on Saturday earned the favourable status as South Africa’s only unbeaten Vodacom Super Rugby franchise as they defeated the DHL Stormers, while the Toyota Cheetahs registered their first win of the season, and the Emirates Lions and Southern Kings suffered defeats.
The Emirates Lions suffered their first defeat of the season against the Highlanders in Dunedin, as mistakes at crucial times and lapses on defence allowed the hosts to register a convincing 34-15 victory. The first half was tight, but the hosts scored 21 points in the first 16 minutes of the second half to work their way to victory. The defeat for the Emirates Lions ended their four-match winning run away from home.Toyota Cheetahs flyhalf Niel Marais, meanwhile, steered his team to the first Vodacom Super Rugby victory in Singapore and their first of the season as he scored 22 points to guide his team to a nail-biting 32-31 victory against the Sunwolves. The Sunwolves dominated the first half and built up an encouraging 28-13 half-time lead, but the Bloemfontein side bounced back with intent in the second half and scored three tries to level the match at four tries a piece.
In Port Elizabeth, the Southern Kings showed immense character to challenge the Chiefs, but lapses on defence late in the first half and throughout the second stanza, and mistakes at crucial times on attack allowed the Chiefs to register a morale-boosting 58-24 victory.
In the final match of the weekend, the Cell C Sharks snatched a late 18-13 victory against the DHL Stormers in a thrilling clash at DHL Newlands, with flyhalf Joe Pietersen scoring 13 of the team’s 18 points. The victory for the Durban side stretched their unbeaten run to six matches in the tournament and earned them the status as the only unbeaten South African franchise after the first three rounds. The defeat for the DHL Stormers, meanwhile, marked their first of the season.
The Vodacom Bulls had a bye.
In the other matches the Hurricanes registered their first win of the season by defeating the Blues 23-19 in Auckland, while the Brumbies beat the Force 41-13 in Perth and the Rebels secured a narrow 25-23 victory against the Reds in Melbourne.
Vodacom Super Rugby information:
Vodacom Super Rugby information:
Note: By clicking on the various headings, you will be able to access the breakdown for that specific match on www.sarugby.co.za, where team line-ups, replacements and run of play can be found.
Highlanders 10 (34) Emirates Lions 3 (15)
The first half between the Highlanders and Emirates Lions was hard-fought and played at a high tempo as both teams tried to snuff out gaps on attack and supported this with a solid defensive effort. The Highlanders dominated possession and the scrums in the first half, but despite this, the visitors limited them to a penalty and converted try thanks to their effective scramble defence. In turn the Emirates Lions battled to penetrate the Highlanders’ defence, and on the one occasion when they did, the hosts denied wing Ruan Combrinck the opportunity to dot down the ball over the tryline. The only points the visitors scored before the break was a penalty by flyhalf Elton Jantjies in the 32nd minute, which left them trailing 10-3.
The Highlanders came out firing in the second half with two long-range tries within two minutes to extend their lead to 24-3, which earned them a bonus point for tries temporarily. They built on this with another fast-paced counter-attack after winning a turnover to score their fourth try of the match in 56th minute and added a well-timed drop goal for a pleasing 34-3 lead. The Emirates Lions fought back with a well-worked try by centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg early in the fourth quarter, and added another in the 77th minute by Ruan Ackermann to trail 34-15 thanks to their patience to string together phases on attack and apply pressure on the hosts. This cancelled out the Highlanders’ bonus point for scoring three or more tries than the opposition. The Lions clawed their way over the tryline again on the stroke of full-time, but again they were unable to ground the ball due to the effective defence.
Highlanders 34 (10): Tries: Ben Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Matt Faddes (2). Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (4). Penalty: Lima Sopoaga. Drop Goal: Lima Sopoaga.
Emirates Lions 15 (3): Tries: Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Ruan Ackermann. Conversion: Elton Jantjies. Penalty: Elton Jantjies.
Sunwolves 31 (28) Toyota Cheetahs 32 (13)
The Sunwolves started their clash against the Toyota Cheetahs on a high as they delivered an innovative display on attack, dominated the scrums and capitalised on the porous Cheetahs defence to force their way onto the front foot at the Singapore National Stadium and earn an encouraging 28-13 half-time lead. The hosts struck early with a try in the 3rd minute after stretching the defence and showing fantastic handling skills to take a 7-0 lead. The Toyota Cheetahs retaliated with back-to-back penalty kicks by flyhalf Niel Marais to reduce the gap to 7-6. The Sunwolves struck again to earn their second try in the 13th minute, but a fantastic chip kick by the visitors’ wing Sergeal Petersen supported by good kicking and handling saw Marais score the first try for the Toyota Cheetahs. Disappointing tackling for the Bloemfontein side, however, came at a high price as Sunwolves wing Akihito Yamada earned his hat-trick, while the team scored another try on the stroke of half-time for a 28-13 lead.
In-form Sunwolves flyhalf Tusi Pisi stretched their lead with a penalty in the opening exchanges of the second half. But Toyota Cheetahs flank Uzair Cassiem struck back after dashing through a gap in the defence to reduce the deficit to 31-20. The visitors added their third try in the 53rd minute after gaining momentum on attack and showing patience close to the line, which paid off with Marais’ second try. A yellow card for the Sunwolves in the 70th minute following a series of infringements allowed the Bloemfontein side to score their fourth try compliments of Boom Prinsloo from a lineout drive, which pushed them 32-31 ahead on the scoreboard. The closing minutes were tense, but the visiting side held their nerve to hold onto the victory.
Sunwolves 31 (28) – Tries: Akihito Yamada (3), Shota Horie. Conversions: Tusi Pisi (4). Penalty: Tusi Pisi.
Toyota Cheetahs 32 (13) – Tries: Boom Prinsloo, Niel Marais (2), Uzair Cassiem. Conversions: Niel Marais (3). Penalties: Niel Marais (2).
Southern Kings 24 (17) Chiefs 58 (27)
The Southern Kings delivered a brave first-half performance against the Chiefs at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium compliments of a solid defensive effort, a smart game plan to deny the Chiefs turnover ball and a strong performance up-front. Unfortunately for the hosts, however, the Chiefs crossed the tryline three times in the second quarter. But effective goal-kicking by Southern Kings flyhalf Louis Fouché, who slotted over four penalty kicks, and a hard-earned try by hooker Edgar Marutlulle from a lineout drive resulted by the home team trailing only 27-17 at the break.
The Chiefs opened up the scoring in the second half with back-to-back tries for a 41-17 lead and the bonus point for scoring three or more tries than the Southern Kings. Despite this the Kings were determined to fight back, and their efforts paid off with Marutlulle crossing the chalk for his second try from a Chiefs knock-on. The Chiefs, however, dominated the rest of the match, while they also had the advantage of an extra man after Kings hooker Martin Bezuidenhout received a yellow card in the 68th minute. They took full advantage of this and stretched their try tally to seven, and added a penalty in the final minute to secure a satisfying 58-24 victory.
Southern Kings 24 (17) – Tries: Edgar Marutlulle. Conversion: Louis Fouché. Penalties: Louis Fouché (4).
Chiefs 58 (27) – Tries: Aaron Cruden, Charlie Ngatai, Damian McKenzie, Glen Fisiiahi, Sam Cane (2), Taleni Seu. Conversions: Damian McKenzie (7). Penalties: Damian McKenzie (3).
DHL Stormers 13 (10) Cell C Sharks 18 (3)
The battle between the DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks was epic from start to end as both teams tried hard to make their presence felt on attack and put their bodies on the line on defence. The Stormers, however, had the upper hand in terms of territory and possession with the hosts leading the possession statistics in the first half by over 70%. Despite this, the teams remained closely matched on the scoreboard with a penalty a piece by DHL Stormers flyhalf Kurt Coleman and his Cell C Sharks counterpart Joe Pietersen. A stunning try by the Cape side’s wing Leolin Zas, who snapped up the ball following a classy kick by fullback Cheslin Kolbe in the 28th minute, however, was the difference on the scoreboard at the break, with the DHL Stormers leading 10-3. The Durban side also created chances to cross the tryline, but costly errors denied them from converting them into points.
The second half started in dramatic fashion as the Cell C Sharks were awarded a penalty try in the 46th minute, while DHL Stormers flank Siya Kolisi received a yellow card for kicking the ball out of scrumhalf Cobus Reinach’s hands as he stretched to score a try. Coleman slotted over the conversion to level the scores at 10-10. Pietersen added a penalty in the 60th minute to take a narrow 13-10 lead, which was followed a series of tight exchanges between the teams. Coleman, however, cancelled out the lead with a penalty in the 74th minute to leave the sides tied at 13-13 with six minutes left on the clock. The Cell C Sharks hit back soon after with a try by Joe Pietersen who received a stunning pass from Springbok centre JP Pietersen to sneak into a handy 18-13 lead in the dying minutes. The hosts fought until the end, but their efforts were not enough to reclaim the lead, and instead, they had to settle for a bonus point for losing by seven points or less.
DHL Stormers 13 (10) – Try: Leolin Zas. Conversion: Kurt Coleman. Penalties: Kurt Coleman (2).
Cell C Sharks 18 (3) – Tries: Penalty Try, Joe Pietersen. Conversion: Joe Pietersen. Penalties: Joe Pietersen (2).
Vodacom Super Rugby logs after Round 3:
|TEAM||P||W||L||D||PF||PA||PD||TRIES FOR||TRIES AGAINST||LOSS BONUS||TRIES BONUS||POINTS|
|South African Group|
|Cell C Sharks (Q)||3||3||0||0||80||36||44||9||4||0||1||13|
|DHL Stormers (Q)||3||2||1||0||66||37||29||6||3||1||1||10|
|Emirates Lions (Q)||3||2||1||0||77||79||-2||10||9||0||1||9|
|Africa Conference 1|
|Africa Conference 2|
|Cell C Sharks||3||3||0||0||80||36||44||9||4||0||1||13|
|New Zealand Conference|
Other Results – Round 3:
Blues 19-23 Hurricanes – Eden Park, Auckland
Force 13–41 Brumbies – NIB Stadium, Perth
Rebels 25-23 Reds – AAMI Park, Melbourne