Emirates Lions qualified for a third successive Vodacom Super Rugby semi-final with their impressive 40-23 victory over the Jaguares on Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg. They will meet the Waratahs next Saturday at Emirates Airlines Park from 15h05 in one of the two semi-finals.
The Waratahs scored a dramatic 30-23 come-from-behind win over the Highlanders in Sydney to book their place in the last four after wiping out a halftime deficit of 23-6.
Earlier on Saturday morning, the Crusaders triumphed 40-10 over the Cell C Sharks in Christchurch to secure their home semi-final berth against the Hurricanes, who edged the Chiefs 32-31 on Friday.
Playing at home on the Highveld, the Emirates Lions outscored their Argentine opponents by four tries to two, while Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies contributed 20 points with the boot.
Jantjies delivered a flawless kicking display and converted the tries of Ruan Combrinck (wing), Harold Vorster (centre), Malcolm Marx (hooker) and Andries Coetzee (fullback), while also adding three penalties and a drop goal.
Their tight five, with hooker Marx in outstanding form, delivered an impressive display against the powerful Jaguares pack, which allowed them a solid platform to attack from. The Jaguares stormed back to within four points of their hosts at one stage (27-23) but the Gauteng side quickly shifted into a higher gear to take the game away from the visitors.
In the early morning game in Christchurch, the Cell C Sharks fought bravely after a poor start, which handed the Kiwi side the all-important momentum.
The Crusaders scored five tries through Bryn Hall, David Havili, Matt Todd, Braydon Ennor and Peter Samu while Richie Mo’unga slotted three conversions and also three penalties. Kobus van Wyk scored the Durbanites’ only try, with Robert du Preez adding the conversion and a penalty.
The Highlanders took firm control of the opening period and deserved their halftime lead over the Waratahs in Sydney. However, Bernard Foley scored two of the Waratahs’ three tries as they overturned a 17-point deficit for a dramatic 30-23 triumph.
Vodacom Super Rugby semi-final draw for next weekend:
Saturday, 28 July
09h35: Crusaders vs Hurricanes, AMI Stadium, Christchurch
15h05: Emirates Lions vs Waratahs, Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg
The weekend’s quarterfinal results:
Emirates Lions 40, Jaguares 23
Emirates Lions – Tries: Ruan Combrinck, Harold Vorster, Malcolm Marx, Andries Coetzee. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (4). Penalties: Jantjies (3). Drop goal: Jantjies.
Jaguares – Tries: Bautista Delguy, Pablo Matera. Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez (2). Penalties: Sanchez (3).
Crusaders 40, Cell C Sharks 10
Crusaders – Tries: Bryn Hall, David Havili, Matt Todd, Braydon Ennor, Peter Samu; Conversions: Richie Mo’unga (3); Penalties: Mo’unga (3).
Cell C Sharks – Kobus van Dyk; Conversion: Robert du Preez; Penalty: Du Preez
Waratahs 30, Highlanders 23
Waratahs – Tries: Waisake Naholo, Rob Thompson; Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (2); Penalties: Sopoaga (3).
Highlanders – Tries: Bernard Foley (2), Israel Folau; Conversions: Foley (3); Penalties: Foley (2).
Hurricanes 32, Chiefs 31
Hurricanes – Tries: Julian Savea, TJ Perenara (2), Ben Lam; Conversions: Beauden Barrett (2), Jordie Barrett; Penalties: Beauden Barrett (2).
Chiefs – Tries: Brad Weber, Anton Lienert-Brown, Damian McKenzie, Lachlan Boshier; Conversions: McKenzie (3), Charlie Ngatai; Penalty: McKenzie.