- DHL Stormers, Cell C Sharks edged in tense battles
The Vodacom Bulls scored the only win for the South African franchise teams over the weekend in a full round of Vodacom Super Rugby fixtures, which saw all the local teams in action against overseas opponents.
The side from Pretoria made it six wins from eight starts this season so far with their comfortable and well-deserved 42-20 bonus-point win over the Western Force on Friday in Perth. The DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks were edged in close fought battles, while the Emirates Lions, Toyota Cheetahs and the Southern Kings also fell short.
By scoring five tries to two, and only conceding the second one after the final hooter, the Pretoria side moved to 28 points on the log. They also broke a four-year winless drought in Australia with their sparkling win in Perth.
Down to 14-man in the second half because of the red shown to young wing Leolin Zas, the DHL Stormers showed admirable fighting spirit right to the end in their home fixture against the Waratahs. But their brave effort were dealt a fatal blow when flanker Michael Hooper crashed over to score with two minutes to go to clinch a tense, action-packed encounter 32-30 in the late Saturday night fixture in Cape Town.Despite their loss and thanks to their vital bonus point, the Cape team remains at the top of the first Africa conference with 29 points after nine games, closely followed by the Vodacom Bull (28 points from eight games). The Emirates Lions lead the second Africa group standings with 27 points from nine games.
The Emirates Lions suffered their third defeat in nine matches when the Hurricanes won their Johannesburg duel 50-17 on Saturday evening.
A blitzkrieg of three converted tries inside the first quarter paved the way for a huge win for the New Zealanders who outscored the home side seven tries to three, including five in the first half.
In another Saturday match played in Brisbane, the Queensland Reds put in a good second half performance to beat the Toyota Cheetahs 30-17 after the scores were tied at 10-all at the interval.
And in another Friday fixture, the Cell C Sharks finished their overseas tour with a 24-22 reverse to the Chiefs on Friday in New Plymouth after the teams were level 15-all at halftime. The Durban-side matched the in-form Chiefs all the way in the first half, but they just fell short in this thriller.
In the final match of the weekend Argentine side the Jaguares ended a seven-match losing streak late on Saturday evening when they outscored the Southern Kings 73-27 in Buenos Aires. The Jaguares scored 11 tries for only their second win of their debut season and a first at home.
Elsewhere the Highlanders won 23-10 over the Brumbies in Invercargill and the Blues triumphed 36-30 over the Rebels in Melbourne.
No 8 Leonardo Senatore led the way with a hat-trick of tries while flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez, kicked nine conversions while another hit a post. Veteran centre Juan Martin Hernandez scored after just 72 seconds to open the scoring for the Jaguares when he grabbed his own kick and dotted down.
Kings flyhalf Elgar Watts countered with a penalty before winger Santiago Cordero scored a second home try. Senatore then scored his first, and the third of the match, on 15 minutes. The Jaguares eventually went into the break 40-15 ahead.
The Kings’ troubled increased immediately after the resumption when winger Luzuko Vulindlu was yellow-carded for a dangerous challenge.
Senatore clinched his hat-trick of tries in the second half while Sanchez showed impressive form with the boot to miss only with two of the eleven conversion efforts. For the Kings, skipper and lock Steven Sykes finished off a sweeping movement for their third try.
Jaguares 73 – Tries: Hernandez, Cordero, Senatore (3), Sánchez, Creevy, Montero, Alemanno, Boffelli, Landajo.Conversions: Sanchez (9)
Southern Kings 27 – tries: Cloete, Watermeyer, Bholi, Sykes. Conversions: Watts 2. Penalties: Watts
The Waratahs took the lead when experienced centre Kurtley Beale shot through the defensive line to score to dot down. But the home side hit back a few minutes later when scrumhalf Nic Groom popped a pass to Schalk Burger to score under the poles.
Big lock Pieter-Steph du Toit then displayed his agility as he started and finished the move which led to the DHL Stormers’ second try. However, the Australians hit back with the last points before the interval as midfielder Israel Folau cut through a gap to cut the home side’s lead to 14-12.
After the restart, the two sides traded a couple of successful penalties and then Zas was shown red for his mid-air challenge. Flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis kept the home side in front with yet another penalty while wing Rob Horne crossed the whitewash for the third Waratahs try. The Cape side showed grit and determination despite their numerical disadvantage and it was Du Toit who powered over for his second try to put the home side once more in front with the end almost in sight.
Unfortunately for the home side and their passionate supporters, the visitors had the last say when skipper Hooper crashed over for their winning score.
Waratahs 32 – Tries: Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Rob Horne, Michael Hooper; Conversions: Bernard Foley (3); Penalties: Bernard Foley (2).
DHL Stormers 30 – Tries: Pieter-Steph du Toit (2) and Schalk Burger; Conversions: Jean Luc du Plessis (3); Penalties: Jean Luc du Plessis (3)
The Hurricanes made a powerful start and scored five tries in the first half courtesy of Julian Savea, Matt Proctor, two from Cory Jane and also one via Reg Goodes. Hooker Akker van der Merwe went over for the only try for the home side in the first half to bring the halftime score to 36-5.
After the interval the home side defended much better and they added their second try following good play between wing Ruan Combrinck and scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, whose chip-kick was gathered and dotted down by centre Lionel Mapoe. Jantjies slotted the conversion and reduced the deficit to 36-12.
Flanker Jaco Kriel also barged over for another home side try, but this time the conversion was wide. The visitors had to wait a while for their next try, which came via Coles to Vince Aso. And moments later Savea added his second try to make the final score 50-17.
Emirates Lions – Tries: Akker van der Merwe, Lionel Mapoe, Jaco Kriel. Conversion: Elton Jantjies
Hurricanes – Tries: Julian Savea (2), Matt Proctor, Cory Jane (2), Reg Goodes, Vince Aso. Conversions: Barrett (6). Penalty: Barrett.
The Free State-side could not capitalise on their numerical advantage after the Reds were reduced to 14-man on two occasions because of yellow card offences. They would also be disappointed after failing to collect at least a point following their tenacious first half display.
In the end the Reds scored three tries through No 8 Curtis Browning and scrumhalf Nick Frisby, who went over twice. Flyhalf Jake McIntyre succeeded with all three conversions and he also hit the mark with three penalties.
The Toyota Cheetahs replied with tries by flank Uzair Cassiem and wing Raymond Rhule. Pivot Fred Zeilinga added both conversions and penalty.
Reds 30 – Tries: Curtis Browning, Nick Frisby (2). Conversions: Jake McIntyre (3). Penalties: McIntyre (3).
Toyota Cheetahs 17 – Tries: Uzair Cassiem, Raymond Rhule. Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (2). Penalty: Zeilinga.
The game was still in the balance when the visitors led 18-13 at the interval, their tries coming from former Junior Springbok skipper and No 8 Hanro Liebenberg and Springbok centre Jan Serfontein.
The Force struck back through captain Matt Hodgson to keep the deficit at halftime to just five points. The young Vodacom Bulls outfit displayed a keen willingness to run the ball and their handling and offloads were big features of their success.
After the resumption, flyhalf Francois Brummer slotted a penalty and that was followed by three tries, which all of a sudden stretched the lead to 42-13. A second try to Serfontein, then two by skipper Adriaan Strauss landed the knockout blow. The Force scored a consolation try after the final hooter when Kyle Godwin dived over.
In doing so, the Vodacom Bulls snapped an 11-match losing streak for them in Australasia, because their last win before Friday was against the Blues in Auckland (28-21) in 2013.
Western Force 20 – Tries: Matt Hodgson, Kyle Godwin. Conversions: Ian Prior (2). Penalties: Prior (2).
Vodacom Bulls 42 – Tries: Hanro Liebenberg, Jan Serfontein (2), Adriaan Strauss (2). Conversions: Francois Brummer (4). Penalties: Brummer (3).
The Cell C Sharks recovered well from somewhat of a nightmare start, when they conceded a very early try, to come within a whisker of winning this enthralling clash.
The Chiefs scored two tries through centre Seta Tamanivalu and No 8 Michael Leitch. Flyhalf Aaron Cruden slotted a conversion and four penalties.
The Cell C Sharks replied with three tries via prop Kyle Cooper, impressive young flyhalf Garth April and replacement hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle. April, who last week kicked five out of five attempts at goal, was again successful with two conversions and a penalty.
The Chiefs collected four points for their win to extend their outright lead at the top of the New Zealand conference and the overall log, while the Durban-side gained one point for losing by seven or fewer points.
Chiefs 24 – Tries: Seta Tamanivalu, Michael Leitch; Conversion: Aaron Cruden; Penalties: Cruden (4).
Cell C Sharks 22 – Tries: Kyle Cooper, Garth April and Chiliboy Ralepelle; Conversions: Garth April (2); Penalty: April.
Other Round 10 results:
Saturday, 30 April
Highlanders 23, Brumbies 10
Blues 36, Rebels 30
The full Vodacom Super Rugby log after Round 10:
|TEAM||PLAYED||WON||LOST||DREW||POINTS FOR||POINTS AGAINST||POINTS DIFFERENCE||TRIES FOR||TRIES AGAINST||LOSS BONUS||TRIES BONUS||POINTS|
|South African Group|
|DHL Stormers (Q)||9||6||3||0||248||158||90||25||17||3||2||29|
|Emirates Lions (Q)||9||6||3||0||268||235||33||33||28||1||2||27|
|Vodacom Bulls (Q)||8||6||1||1||244||167||77||29||18||0||2||28|
|Cell C Sharks||9||4||4||1||174||156||18||22||15||3||2||23|
|Africa Conference 1|
|Africa Conference 2|
|Cell C Sharks||9||4||4||1||174||156||18||22||15||3||2||23|
|New Zealand Conference|