The Vodacom Bulls defeated the DHL Stormers 17-13 in a typical, tense South African derby at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening to keep their unbeaten home record in this year’s campaign intact. They also halted a run of four Vodacom Super Rugby losses in a row against their Cape Town rivals.
The two teams were locked at 6-6 at halftime and after the DHL Stormers have managed to close the gap in the second half to just 14-13, an excellent a drop goal by replacement flyhalf Tian Schoeman eventually clinched the match for the Pretoria-side.
As a result of their hard-fought win, the Vodacom Bulls have moved into top place on the African Conference 1 ladder. Although they have the same amount as points as the DHL Stormers, namely 32 points, the Pretoria franchise grabbed first position because of their better points margin.
Africa Conference 2 leaders, the Emirates Lions, consolidated their top-spot by scoring another impressive 52-24 win over the Jaguares in their early Saturday afternoon fixture in Johannesburg.
Meanwhile in Durban, the Cell C Sharks continued with their improved form of late by overpowering the Southern Kings 53-0. The Kings defended much better in the second half and they only conceded two more tries following the home side’s scoring spree of 43 points in the opening stanza.The team from Durban moved to within two points of Africa 2 conference leaders, the Emirates Lions, who have collected 37 points from 11 matches. The Cell C Sharks (35) have played one more game than the team from the Highveld.
Elsewhere, the Crusaders defeated the Waratahs 29-10 in their Friday fixture in Christchurch. In Brisbane, the Reds fought off a late rally by the Sunwolves to emerge as 35-25 winners. The Chiefs were too strong for the Rebels and they won their home fixture 36-15 in Hamilton, while in Perth the visiting Blues edged the Western Force 17-13 in a tight affair.
The Toyota Cheetahs, along with the Brumbies, the Highlanders and the Hurricanes were not in action this weekend.
As expected, the first half delivered an uncompromising stint, with both sided determined to battle it out for supremacy via the forward route. Two penalties each by flyhalves Jean-Luc du Plessis and Francois Brummer meant the sides went into halftime locked at 6-6.
However the home team took the game to their Cape visitors in the second half and they were eventually rewarded for their efforts when scrumhalf Piet van Zyl went over for try after an excellent kick ahead by Springbok centre Jan Serfontein.
Brummer steered his conversion effort wide, but he soon slotted another penalty goal to stretch the home side’s lead to 14-6. They stood firm in defence, with the DHL Stormers launching several attacks in an effort to close the gap.
The Cape scored their only try of the match through Springbok midfielder Damian de Allende who crashed over in the 67th minute. Du Plessis succeeded with the conversion kick to bring his side straight back into the match at 14-13. De Allende earned his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby cap.
With only six minutes left on the clock, replacement flyhalf Tiaan Schoeman kicked an excellent drop goal to put the Vodacom Bulls further ahead at 17-13. The home side then held on to register a vital win over their fierce rivals.
Vodacom Bulls 17 – Try: Piet van Zyl, Penalties: Francois Brummer (3), Drop Goal: Tiaan Schoeman.
DHL Stormers 13 – Try: Damian de Allende, Penalties: Jean-Luc du Plessis (2), Conversion: Jean-Luc du Plessis.
In Durban, the Cell C Sharks scored 43 points in the first half to lay the platform for a huge 53-0 victory over the Southern Kings. Springbok flyhalf Patrick Lambie was again very influential and he scored 23 points, including two tries.
The Durban outfit started the match looking to run the ball at every opportunity with captain and flyhalf Pat Lambie influential from the start. After making a huge impact last week against the Jaguares, including the slotting the winning penalty, Lambie delivered another impressive all-round performance. His personal tally of 23 points consisted of two tries, five conversions and a penalty.
At the halftime break the Cell C Sharks were already out of sight after they have dominated all aspects of the match, scoring no less than six tries with Lambie, Paul Jordaan (2), Willie le Roux, Andre Esterhuizen and veteran winger JP Pietersen all crossing the whitewash for a 43-0 lead.
The men from Port Elizabeth stepped up their defence in the second half and they restricted the home to team to only two further tries from Lambie and replacement prop, Thomas du Toit.
Cell C Sharks 53 – Tries: Pat Lambie (2), Paul Jordaan (2), Willie le Roux, Andre Esterhuizen, JP Pietersen, Thomas du Toit. Conversions: Pat Lambie (5), Penalties: Pat Lambie.
Southern Kings 0.
At Emirates Park in Johannesburg, the Emirates Lions proved far too strong for Japanese side, the Jaguares, scoring a comprehensive 52-24 win to consolidate their leading position in the South African group.
Warren Whiteley’s team outscored the visitors by eight tries to two and they led 19-9 at half-time in another entertaining fixture.
The hosts cut loose in the second half with some excellent attacking play which resulted in no less than five attractive tries. Wingers Courtnall Skosan and Ruan Combrinck each scored a brace, while the other try scorers for home side were Lionel Mapoe, Lourens Erasmus, Cyle Brink and Jaco Kriel.
Despite the attacking onslaught, the Jaguars kept on trying and they managed to score two tries of their own through Nicolas Sanchez and Gonzalo Bertrano.
Emirates Lions 52 – Tries: Courtnall Skosan (2), Lionel Mapoe, Lourens Erasmus, Cyle Brink, Jaco Kriel, Ruan Combrinck (2), Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2), Ruan Combrinck, Penalties: Ruan Combrinck (2).
Jaguares 24 – Tries: Nicolas Sanchez, Gonzalo Bertrano, Conversions: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez (4).
Other Rounds 13 results:
Saturday, 21 May
Reds 35 Sunwolves 25
Chiefs 36 Rebels 15
Force 13, Blues 17
Friday, 20 May
Crusaders 29, Waratahs 10
Reds 35 Sunwolves 25
The full Vodacom Super Rugby log after the weekend’s Round 13 action:
|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)||11||8||3||0||363||264||99||48||31||1||4||37|
|Vodacom Bulls (Q)||11||7||3||1||275||234||41||31||25||0||2||32|
|Cell C Sharks (Q)||12||7||4||1||284||193||91||30||20||3||2||35|
|Africa Conference 1|
|Africa Conference 2|
|Cell C Sharks||12||7||4||1||284||193||91||30||20||3||2||35|
|New Zealand Conference|