· Cell C Sharks add to Emirates Lions’ woes in local derbies
· Resilient DHL Stormers beat Highlanders in Cape Town
· Kuridrani leads Brumbies’ charge against Vodacom Bulls in Canberra
Home victories by the DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks have created a proper log-jam at the top of the standings in the South African Conference as the business end of the 2019 Vodacom Super Rugby season gets closer.
The Capetonians delivered a polished performance as they beat the Highlanders by 34-22 at DHL Newlands on Saturday afternoon, after which the KwaZulu-Natalians outlasted the Emirates Lions at Jonsson Kings Park by 27-17.
The Vodacom Bulls ended the Australian leg of their tour with a 22-10 defeat at the hands of the Brumbies in Canberra, and the Jaguares moved to the top of the local standings with a 23-15 win over the Waratahs in Sydney.
With three rounds to go before the Vodacom Super Rugby playoffs, the Jaguares top the SA Conference with 36 points, followed by the Cell C Sharks (33), Vodacom Bulls (32), Emirates Lions (30) and DHL Stormers (30).
Cell C Sharks add to Emirates Lions’ woes in local derbies
The Cell C Sharks benefited from two long-range intercept tries as they beat the Emirates Lions by 27-17 in an enthralling Vodacom Super Rugby derby at Jonsson Kings Park in Durban on Saturday evening.
It was the Emirates Lions’ fourth straight defeat in a local derby this season.
The home team struck early on when Curwin Bosch pounced on a short pass by Elton Jantjies, 15m inside the Cell C Sharks’ half, to race away and score under the uprights.
Not long after that, Dan du Preez was driven over from a lineout maul and at 14-0, the Cell C Sharks looked to be in complete control.
But once the Emirates Lions settled and got more possession, they clawed their way back. Lionel Mapoe went over late in the first half, which saw the teams go into the sheds with the home side leading by 14-7.
The visitors from Johannesburg started the second half the way they ended the first, and 10 minutes after the break, Cyle Brink’s converted try levelled the scores at 14-14, setting up an exciting final half-hour.
Bosch extended the Cell C Sharks’ lead soon after with his first penalty goal, but the hammer blow to the Emirates Lions’ aspirations came on the hour mark, while they were hot on the attack.
Springbok winger Makazole Mapimpi intercepted a looping pass from Jantjies close to his own try-line and raced away to score under the uprights, 95m upfield, which was effectively a 14-point swing. With 20 minutes to go, the KwaZulu-Natalians led by 24-14.
The Emirates Lions didn’t give up though. Jantjies missed an opportunity to close the gap to seven points in the 66th minute and six minutes later Reinard Nothnagel snuck over next to the posts, but the try wasn’t given as he played from an illegal position.
The visitors were playing under advantage though and Jantjies added the penalty goal to make it a seven point ball game. However, it was a short-lived surge as Bosch added his second penalty goal to restore the Cell C Sharks’ 10 point lead with just over three minutes to go, and that is how it ended.
Cell C Sharks 27 (14) – Tries: Curwin Bosch, Dan du Preez, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Bosch (3). Penalty goals: Bosch (2).
Emirates Lions 17 (7) – Tries: Lionel Mapoe, Cyle Brink. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalty goal: Jantjies.
Resilient DHL Stormers beat Highlanders in Cape Town
The DHL Stormers delivered a spirited performance as they beat the Highlanders by 34-22 in a great Vodacom Super Rugby match at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.
The Capetonians, who led 17-3 at half-time, kept their playoff hopes alive by using their opportunities and hitting back every time the men from Otago put points on the board, and thereby sucking the life from the Highlanders’ challenge.
It was an excellent performance by the DHL Stormers. Their forwards delivered a good platform and the backs’ passing was great as they looked to attack space. This allowed the speedsters to wreak havoc with the Highlanders’ defence, which was not at their best.
Marty Banks got the first points of the game in the 18th minute with a penalty goal for the Highlanders, but two minutes later Herschel Jantjies scored the opening try after a great burst by Seabelo Senatla.
Senatla actually crossed the try-line twice, in the 14th and later again in the 49th minutes, but in both instances the TMO ruled no try. Not that it deterred the DHL Stormers at all, they simply created more opportunities.
When Matt Faddes was sent to the sin bin in the 28th minute for a dangerous tackle on Damian De Allende, the DHL Stormers again ensured they pounced, this time with Springbok captain Siya Kolisi crashing over from a well-worked move from an attacking lineout. Josh Stander added the extras to go with his earlier conversion and penalty goal to give the home team a 17-3 at the break.
The Highlanders’ inside centre Sio Tomkinson crashed over for his team’s first try in the 52ndminute, but yet again the DHL Stormers didn’t wait to hit back. Dillyn Leyds exploited another missed tackle by the Highlanders to send Cobus Wiese over for DHL Stormers’ third try three minutes later, which was again converted by Stander.
With less than 20 minutes to do, Jean-Luc du Plessis added another penalty goal for the DHL Stormers, who looked to be in control at 27-10. Waisake Naholo’s try in the 67th minute gave the Highlanders a little bit of hope, but Du Plessis went over in the corner three minutes later, from a superb line break by De Allende and quick recycling from Jantjies.
The Highlanders’ got a late consolation try, but it wasn’t enough and they will now leave South Africa empty handed from their two Vodacom Super Rugby matches in the Republic.
DHL Stormers 34 (17) – Tries: Herschel Jantjies, Siya Kolisi, Cobus Wiese, Jean-Luc du Plessis. Conversions: Josh Stander (3), Du Plessis. Penalty goals: Stander, Du Plessis.
Highlanders 22 (3) – Tries: Sio Tomkinson, Waisake Naholo, Siate Tokolahi. Conversions: Marty Banks, Dan Hollinshead. Penalty goal: Banks.
Kuridrani leads Brumbies’ charge against Vodacom Bulls in Canberra
A hat-trick by Tevita Kurudrani was the big difference as the Brumbies beat the Vodacom Bulls by 22-10 in Canberra on Friday afternoon, their fourth straight victory over the three-time Vodacom Super Rugby champions from Pretoria.
Hanro Liebenberg scored the Vodacom Bulls’ first and only try after a period of sustained pressure and the visitors looked to be in control and switched on after the first quarter, leading by 10-5.
But the tide turned when the big Wallaby outside centre scored his second try in the 38thminute, which allowed the home team to finish the first half with a 12-10 lead.
Sadly for the men from Pretoria, mistakes under pressure and bad defence cost them dearly in the second half as Irae Simone (inside centre) and Kuridrani added two more tries to second a bonus-point win for the Brumbies.
It was a scrappy performance by the Vodacom Bulls, and although they showed some attacking intent, they just never really got going.
A good example of their performance came late in the match when they turned the ball over virtually on the Brumbies’ try-line, failing to convert a try-scoring opportunity what could have seen them bag a losing bonus-point.
However, the Brumbies would argue that they should never have been in this position, as Christian Lealiifano missed four kicks from the tee, worth nine points, which would have put the Vodacom Bulls to the sword much earlier in the game.
Brumbies 22 (12) – Tries: Tevita Kuridrani (3), Irae Simone. Conversion: Christian Lealiifano.
Vodacom Bulls 10 (10) – Try: Hanro Liebenberg. Conversion: Manie Libbok. Penalty goal: Libbok.
Other Round 15 results:
Friday, 24 May:
Chiefs 19, Reds 13 (Hamilton)
Saturday, 25 May:
Crusaders 19, Blues 11 (Christchurch)
Sunwolves 7, Rebels 52 (Tokyo)
Waratahs 15, Jaguares 23 (Sydney)
To access the Match Centre for the latest logs and statistics, click here.