- Blues fightback upset Emirates Lions in Highveld thriller
- DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls both slip in Australasia
Beast Mtawarira produced a superb Man of the Match performance in his milestone appearance for the Cell C Sharks who comprehensively outplayed the Sunwolves 50-22 in their Vodacom Super Rugby match on Saturday in Durban.
It was the Durbanites’ first win of the campaign and they scored seven tries to three following a solid 24-3 lead at the interval.
The experienced Springbok prop with 98 Test caps to his name earned his 138th competition appearance for the Durban side to become their most capped player of all time, surpassing the previous landmark of wing JP Pietersen.
The side of Ruan Botha earned a morale boosting bonus-point win just a day before they depart to Australia for their away leg of four matches, starting next week in Canberra against the Brumbies.
At Emirates Park in Johannesburg the visiting Blues side produced a great second half performance to overturn a 10-21 halftime deficit into a 38-35 upset win over the tournament finalists of last year. It was a first defeat in four matches for the Highveld outfit while the Blues notched up their first success in three fixtures.
The two sides played a high-octane, attacking game and each team scored five tries, with exciting young wing Aphiwe Dyantyi scoring his fourth try in as many games. The Ioane brothers Rieko (2) and Akira, scored three of the Blues’ tries.
In the early match on Saturday morning (SA time) that was played in Brisbane, the Vodacom Bulls came close to a win but the Reds did just enough to edge them 20-14 at the Suncorp Stadium. Although the visitors raced into a 14-3 lead, it was the Reds who did well to secure the majority of possession after the interval. John Mitchell’s team now have assignments in New Zealand against the Chiefs and Crusaders.
The DHL Stormers was first in action on Friday morning in Dunedin and they succumbed to a 33-15 defeat to the Highlanders. Nineteen year-old flyhalf Damian Willemse had a bright match for the Cape side while another promising youngster Salmaan Moerat (lock), came on as a substitute to make his tournament debut.
Elsewhere, the Rebels outplayed the Brumbies in their Australian Conference derby in Melbourne and moved up to first place on the overall log with 15 points following their third straight bonus-point victory. And in Wellington the Hurricanes deservedly beat the Crusaders 29-19 to top the early New Zealand conference table.
In the last fixture of the round played late on Saturday night in Buenos Aires, home side Jaguares defeated the Waratahs 38-28 after storming to a 33-7 halftime lead. The Argentine side scored their first win in four matches to end their worst ever starting run.
The Emirates Lions are still top of the South African Conference with 15 points from four matches and they are followed by the Cell C Sharks on 8 points from three games.
Vodacom Super Rugby information (click on the links below for access to the match centre):
Highlanders 33, DHL Stormers 15
Highlanders 33 – Tries: Liam Squire, Aaron Smith (2), Waisake Naholo, Luke Whitelock; Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (4).
DHL Stormers 15 – Tries: Chris van Zyl, Damian Willemse; Conversion: SP Marais; Penalty: Marais.
Reds 20, Vodacom Bulls 14
Reds 20 – Try: Caleb Timu, Aidan Toua; Conversions: James Tuttle (2); Penalty: Jono Lance, Tuttle.
Vodacom Bulls 14 – Tries: Warrick Gelant, Andre Warner; Conversions: Handre Pollard (2).
Cell C Sharks 50, Sunwolves 22
Cell C Sharks 50 – Tries: Makazole Mapimpi 2, Akker van der Merwe, Tera Mtembu, Jacques Vermeulen, Sbu Nkosi and Cameron Wright; Conversions: Robert du Preez (5), Curwin Bosch; Penalty: Robert du Preez.
Sunwolves 22 – Tries: Lemeki Lomano, Wimpie van der Walt and William Tupuo; Conversions: Kotaro Matsushima, Ryoto Nakamura; Penalty: Harumichi Tatekawa.
Emirates Lions 35, Blues 38
Emirates Lions 35 – Tries: Sylvian Mahuza, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Elton Jantjies, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Dylan Smith. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (5)
Blues 38 –Tries: Akira Ione, Rieko Ioane (2), Jimmy Tupou, Murphy Taramai. Conversions: Bryn Gatland, Stephen Perofeta (4). Penalty: Gatland.
Other Round 4 results of the weekend:
Friday, 9 March
Rebels 33, Brumbies 10
Saturday, 10 March
Hurricanes 29, Crusaders 19
Jaguares 38, Waratahs 28
The updated Vodacom Super Rugby conference logs are:
New Zealand Conference
South African Conference
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