The Emirates Lions continued with their impressive start to the Vodacom Super Rugby campaign with a 29-22 South African derby win over the DHL Stormers at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday evening.
Wing Ruan Combrinck and replacement scrumhalf Faf de Klerk scored a try each to steer them to a deserved win, while Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies marshalled proceedings superbly for the home team. Jantjies contributed 19 points thanks to four penalties, two conversions and a drop goal.
Springbok flank Siya Kolisi stepped his way through for the Cape side’s solitary try as the visitors remain top of the first Africa Conference while picking up a picking up a losing bonus-point. Rookie flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis kicked 17 points for the visitors in another good display in the No 10 jersey.
The deserved win was only their second success since 2006 in this fixture for the Johannesburg side.
The Vodacom Bulls maintained their unbeaten home record this season as they scored a hard-earned 41-22 win over the Reds at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening. They outscored the Australians by five tries to three and dominated for much of the match, however, occasional lapses on defence nearly allowed the Reds to claw their way back into contention.
Currently the DHL Stormers (24 points), Emirates Lions (22 points) – the two Africa conference leaders – and the Vodacom Blue Bulls (23 points, wild card), are the three SA group teams in pole position for the qualifying round.
In an incredible try-feast on Friday night in Bloemfontein, the Toyota Cheetahs scored their biggest Vodacom Super Rugby win ever when demolished the Sunwolves 92-17 to notch up a few records in the process.
Wing Sergeal Petersen and loose forward Paul Schoeman both bagged hat-tricks as the Free State-side crossed the line 14 times to equal the competition record set by the Crusaders in their 96-19 romp over the Waratahs in 2002.
It also beat the South African record, set by the Vodacom Bulls in their 92-3 win over the Reds in 2007, where the Pretoria side scored 13 tries. In fact, Petersen could have scored more, but he twice passed to Schoeman to give his teammate the chance to clinch the record score.
The Sharks went down 23-18 to the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday morning. The opening tour match was full excitement, but ended in disappointment for the visitors despite both teams scoring two tries apiece.
The Durban-side were aiming to extend their run of 10 straight victories over the Blues, but the home team managed to break their losing sequence with a late rally. It was especially disappointing for the Cell C Sharks following their two previous losses to the Crusaders and the Emirates Lions.
Elsewhere the Crusaders scored their sixth win of the season when eased to 32-15 win over the Jaguares, while the Hurricanes came out on top 38-13 in their away clash with the Rebels. The Brumbies celebrated their first win in 14 years over the Waratahs in the Allianz Stadium in Sydney, where they ran out winners 26-20.
Vodacom Super Rugby information:
Emirates Lions (16) 29, DHL Stormers (12) 22
It was the home side who went into the break leading 16-12 after both kickers dominated the scoreboard. After both pivots have traded several penalties, Jantjies used a clever chip kick and then a long pass to send Combrinck over for the first try.
Young Du Plessis kept the Cape side within touch with another successful penalty after the break, but the Joburg side made their move on the hour mark when nippy replacement scrumhalf Faf de Klerk took a quick tap penalty and darted over to stretch the lead to 23-15.
But the drama was far from over, and when replacement flank Kolisi danced his way through for a converted try, the DHL Stormers were suddenly within striking distance again.
However, the in-form Jantjies proved his worth with his fourth penalty of the game before he succeeded with a well-executed drop-goal to clinch the match. Next weekend the Emirates Lions travel to Port Elizabeth to face the Kings, while the DHL Stormers host the Reds in Cape Town.
Emirates Lions – Tries: Ruan Combrinck, Faf de Klerk. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties: Jantjies (4). Drop goal: Jantjies
DHL Stormers – Try: Siya Kolisi. Conversion: Jean-Luc du Plessis. Penalties: Du Plessis (5).
Vodacom Bulls (17) 41, Reds (8) 22
With this win and an important overseas tour to Australia looming, the home side managed to keep the pressure on the DHL Stormers in the African conference.
The home side made a slow start, but they made up for that with two good passages of play either side of the break to take the game away from the Reds, who at one stage trailed by 27-8 at fortress Loftus.
However, the home bench made a telling impact in the end as the Reds struggled with the altitude towards the end.
Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss, Lappies Labuschagne, Travis Ismaiel, Piet van Zyl all scored a try each for the winners, while the Reds scored three tries through Chris Feauai-Sautia and Samu Kerevi (2).
Vodacom Bulls – Tries: Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss, Lappies Labuschagne, Travis Ismaiel, Piet van Zyl. Conversions: Francois Brummer (5). Penalties: Francois Brummer (2)
Queensland Reds – Tries: Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi (2). Conversion: Jake McIntyre (2). Drop Goal: Liam Gill
Blues (10) 23, Cell C Sharks (11) 18
Blues flyhalf Ihaia West scored the first points of the match with a penalty kick, but the visitors were in front thanks to a Tendai Mtawarira try. Flyhalf Joe Pietersen stretched the lead with a penalty following a strong scrum.
Around the half hour mark, the Blues conceded another penalty which Pietersen slotted. To add to the home troubles, dangerman Rene Ranger left the field with a knee injury. George Moala, on for Ranger, made the perfect start when he scored with his first touch of the game just before the break. West converted to reduce the halftime lead to just one point.
But the Cell C Sharks quickly restored their eight point lead after the restart when fullback Willie le Roux fed Paul Jordaan for the centre to run straight through. Pietersen added the conversion. West struck his second penalty to reduce the margin back to five points, and wing Reiko Ioane later raced 50m to score his team’s second try. West kicked the conversion and added a penalty after the final hooter to hand the Blues a surprise win.
Blues – Tries: George Moala, Rieko Ioane. Conversions: Ihaia West (2). Penalties: West (3)
Sharks – Tries: Tendai Mtawarira, Paul Jordaan. Conversion: Joe Pietersen. Penalties: Pietersen (2)
Toyota Cheetahs (45) 92, Sunwolves (3) 17
On a night when everything worked in their favour, the home side posted half-century in the first 45 minutes that totally sunk any hopes in the Sunwolves Japanese camp, who scored first through a Tusi Pisi penalty.
After that is was one-way traffic as the Toyota Cheetahs dominated possession and their finishing abilities enabling them to score at will for an historic, and memorable outcome. Eventually, the Cheetahs outscored the visitors by 14 tries to two after leading 45-3 at halftime.
Apart from the hat-tricks by Petersen and Schoeman, the home side’s kickers were also on target. Niel Marais slotted eight conversions while Fred Zeilinga added three more. The Bloemfontein side now travel to Melbourne on Sunday for their clash with the Rebels next week.
Toyota Cheetahs – Tries: Sergeal Petersen (3), Paul Schoeman (3), Torsten van Jaarsveld, Francois Venter, Uzair Cassiem, Raymond Rhule, Shaun Venter, Hilton Lobberts, Clayton Blommetjies, Jacques du Toit. Conversions: Niel Marais (8), Fred Zeilinga (3)
Sunwolves – Tries: Derick Carpenter, Mifi Paea. Conversions: Tusi Pisi. Penalties: Pisi
Other results this weekend:
Friday, 15 April
Crusaders 32, Jaguares 15
Rebels 13, Hurricanes 38
Saturday, 16 April
Waratahs 20, Brumbies 26
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