- Cell C Sharks edge closer to wildcard position
- Vodacom Bulls keep alive qualifying hopes
The DHL Stormers confirmed their place in the Vodacom Super Rugby playoffs courtesy of an impressive 22-3 win over the Western Force in Perth on Saturday. With just one more round of regular fixtures remaining, the Cape side increased their points tally in the Africa Conference 1 to 46, compared to the Vodacom Bulls’ 37.
Although the Cell C Sharks won their match 26-10 against the Toyota Cheetahs in Durban, the Vodacom Bulls remain in the race for the remaining local wildcard position thanks to their runaway 50-3 victory over the Sunwolves in Pretoria. The Pretoria outfit are now just two points behind the Durban side.
The Emirates Lions collected the Africa Conference 2 trophy on Friday evening in Johannesburg following their 57-21 defeat of the Southern Kings in the penultimate round of regulation matches. They complete their league fixtures next weekend against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires with the knowledge that a bonus-point win will hand them top spot on the overall standings – and with that the benefit of home advantage during the knockout stages.
Elsewhere, the Blues defeated the Brumbies 40-15 in Auckland and the Chiefs crushed the Reds 50-5 in Brisbane. Both games were played on Friday. On Saturday, the Crusaders galloped to a runaway 85-26 win over the Rebels in Christchurch and the Waratahs lost 28-17 at home in Sydney to the Hurricanes. In the weekend’s final fixture played in Buenos Aires, the Highlanders defeated the Jaguares 34-8.
In the New Zealand conference the Chiefs (51 points), Crusaders (50), Highlanders (48) and Hurricanes (48) are currently occupying the qualifying spots, while the Brumbies (39) are leading the chase in the Australian conference.
The final round of regular fixtures next weekend are:
Friday 15 July
09h35 Blues vs Waratahs, Auckland
11h45 Reds vs Rebels, Brisbane
19h00 Cell C Sharks vs Sunwolves, Durban
Saturday 16 July
07h15 Crusaders vs Highlanders, Christchurch
09h35 Highlanders vs Chiefs, Dunedin
11h45 Brumbies vs Western Force, Canberra
17h05 DHL Stormers vs Southern Kings, Newlands
19h15 Toyota Cheetahs vs Vodacom Bulls, Bloemfontein
22h40 Jaguares vs Emirates Lions, Buenos Aires
Vodacom Super Rugby information:
The Cell C Sharks took a huge step towards the playoffs when they downed the Toyota Cheetahs 26-10 in Durban on Saturday evening.
With the Vodacom Bulls claiming a bonus-point win over the Sunwolves in the earlier match, they simply had to win to keep their playoff ambitions alive. And the home did so thanks to two tries scored by wing JP Pietersen and scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer, while Raymond Rhule scored the visitors’ only try.
Garth April added the rest of the home team’s points with the boot, consisting of two conversions and four penalties. Tendai Mtawarira, Cell C Sharks captain, was yellow carded in the 15th minute.
The vital win now means the side coastal side moves two points ahead of the Vodacom Bulls into the South Africa group’s wildcard spot with just one round of fixtures to come. They are guaranteed a quarterfinal slot if they beat the Sunwolves in Durban next weekend.
Cell C Sharks – Tries: JP Pietersen, Stefan Ungerer. Conversions: Garth April (2). Penalties: April (4)
Toyota Cheetahs – Try: Raymond Rhule. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalty: Zeilinga.
The Pretoria side ran in seven tries to secure the important bonus-point win and they now move to within two points of the Cell C Sharks in the South African Group.
The Japanese side struggled to compete with the Vodacom Bulls’ physical presence and flanker Lappies Labuschagne was the pick of the home forwards, while at the back former Springbok Sevens player Jamba Ulengo was outstanding on the wing. Labuschagne was prominent on defence, he linked well and also scored a try.
Dries Swanepoel, Jannes Kirsten, Francois Brummer, Bok captain Adriaan Strauss and Travis Ismaiel were the other try scorers for the Pretoria team. For the Sunwolves, Yu Tamura scored his side’s only points with a successful penalty.
Vodacom Bulls – Tries: Lappies Labuschagne, Dries Swanepoel, Jannes Kirsten, Francois Brummer, Adriaan Strauss, Travis Ismaiel. Conversions: Brummer (4), Tian Schoeman (2). Penalty: Brummer
Sunwolves – Penalty: Ya Tamura.
A big talking point in the first half was the yellow card issued to centre Daniel du Plessis in the 10th minute by referee Mike Fraser, after he consulted with the TMO, Peter Marshall.
Du Plessis was knocked out by Force wing Marcel Brache, who landed awkwardly under a high ball. After watching replays of the incident, the two match officials decided to hand the injured DHL Stormers centre a yellow card.
Jono Lance gave the Force the lead with a successful penalty, and that kick proved to be the last points on the board for the struggling home side.
For the visitors, Kobus van Wyk scored two tries while Springbok flank Siya Kolisi also dotted down. Van Wyk scored his first one following good handling by Eben Etzebeth and Jaco Taute, while Kolisi powered his way over on the stroke of halftime to give his side a 15-3 lead in the heavy, wet conditions.
The Cape visitors also dominated the second period, with Van Wyk rounding off in the 56th minute after a fine Taute counter-attack.
Western Force – Penalty: Jonno Lance
DHL Stormers – Tries: Kobus van Wyk (2), Siya Kolisi. Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (2). Penalty: Du Plessis.
The visitors from Port Elizabeth restricted the home side to a competitive 17-7 halftime score. However, yellow cards to Shane Gates for being off-side, and Edgar Marutlulle for a breakdown infringement, cost the Kings heavily on the scoreboard.
Burly centre Johan Janse van Rensburg had another good match in midfield and he dotted a brace of tries for the Highveld team. Apart from brace by the strong centre, Andries Coetzee, Faf de Klerk, Franco Mostert, Malcolm Marx, Sylvian Mahuza and Courtnall Skosan each scored a try for the home team.
James Hall, Stefan Watermeyer with an intercept, and Schalk Ferreira with a late consolation effort, were the try scorers for the Kings.
Emirates Lions – Tries: Rohan Janse van Rensburg (2), Andries Coetzee, Faf de Klerk, Franco Mostert, Malcolm Marx, Sylvian Mahuza, Courtnall Skosan. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (5), Ruan Combrinck (2). Penalty: Jantjies.
Southern Kings – Tries: James Hall, Stefan Watermeyer, Schalk Ferreira. Conversions: Louis Fouche (3).
Other Round 16 Results:
Friday, 8 July
Blues 40, Brumbies 15
Reds 5, Chiefs 50
Saturday, 9 July
Crusaders 85, Rebels 26
Waratahs 17, Hurricanes 28
Jaguares 8, Highlanders 34
The Vodacom Super Rugby log after Round 16:
|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)||14||11||3||0||513||315||198||68||39||1||7||52|
|DHL Stormers (Q)||14||9||4||1||388||250||138||41||26||4||3||45|
|Cell C Sharks (Q)||14||8||5||1||320||240||80||34||26||3||2||39|
|Africa Conference 1|
|Africa Conference 2|
|Cell C Sharks||14||8||5||1||320||240||80||34||26||3||2||39|
|New Zealand Conference|