Coastal sides launch into Vodacom URC top four

The DHL Stormers marched into an impressive second place and the Cell C Sharks into fourth on the Vodacom United Rugby Championship log, while the Vodacom Bulls remained in eighth position in a rewarding round for three of South Africa’s four sides.

The DHL Stormers delivered a flashy performance against the Glasgow Warriors in Cape Town on Friday night to snatch a bonus-point 32-7 victory in the process.

On Saturday, the Cell C Sharks held out log-leaders, Leinster in Durban for a bonus-point 28-23 win, after the Vodacom Bulls outplayed Benetton 46-29 in Pretoria in which in Kurt-Lee Arendse (fullback) scored a brace. All three teams remain in playoff contention with two rounds of pool matches left for each of them.

The Emirates Lions were the only South African team to taste defeat as they suffered a heart-breaking 33-30 defeat against Connacht in Johannesburg, which left them lower down on the log (12th position) with only pride left to play for.

The four South African teams – all of whom bagged try-scoring bonuns points on the weekend – have one more round of home matches next weekend, and then will wrap up the round-robin stages with away matches in May before the quarter-finalists and all the venues for those matches will be confirmed.

DHL Stormers outclass Glasgow for valuable bonus-point win

The DHL Stormers outclassed the Glasgow Warriors with a dazzling display in their Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash in Cape Town on Friday night, scoring four tries to one for a bonus-point 32-7 victory.

Making the victory even sweeter, it pushed the Capetonians into second place on the log with two matches remaining in the pool stages of the competition, although they will feel disappointed by the fact that they were unable to make the most of several other try-scoring opportunities throughout the match.

The first half was tight as both teams showed spurts of good attacking play, but a great try by Rikus Pretorius and two penalty goals and a conversion by Manie Libbok, to a converted try by Glasgow Warriors saw the hosts take a handy 13-7 lead going into the sheds.

The DHL Stormers will have rued a number of missed opportunities in a second half in which they dominated on attack and created several opportunities to score, but they fought until the final whistle to score the bonus-point try compliments of hard-running No 8 Evan Roos.

Scorers:

DHL Stormers 32 (13) – Tries: Rikus Pretorius, Herschel Jantjies, Leolin Zas, Evan Roos. Conversions: Manie Libbok (3). Penalty goals: Libbok (2).

Glasgow Warriors 7 (7) – Try: Jack Dempsey Conversion: Ross Thompson.

Vodacom Bulls grab bonus-point win against Benetton

The Vodacom Bulls scored six tries in a determined showing in their Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash against Benetton at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday to secure a rewarding 46-29 victory, which kept them in quarter-final contention in the North-South showpiece.

A late first-half try by Vodacom Bulls fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse to add to an earlier five-pointer by Cyle Brink (flank) and a conversion by Chris Smith (flyhalf) saw them trail 16-12 at the break, with Benetton earning their points from a try by centre Tommaso Menoncello and three penalty goals and a conversion by their SA-born fullback Rhyno Smith.

The hosts dominated the second half scoring four tries, with Arendse earning his brace, while the Italians managed only one, yet again by Menoncello, while Smith added two more kicks at goal.

Scorers:

Vodacom Bulls 46 (12) – Tries: Cyle Brink, Kurt-Lee Arendse (2), Marcell Coetzee, Canan Moodie, Simphiwe Matanzima. Conversions: Chris Smith (3), Morne Steyn (2). Penalty goals: Chris Smith (2).

Benetton 29 (16) – Tries: Tommaso Menoncello (2). Conversions: Rhyno Smith (2). Penalty Goals: Smith (5).

Connacht hold on to break Emirates Lions’ hearts

The Emirates Lions were made to pay for a slow start and unnecessary errors as Connacht recorded their third victory over South African opposition in the 2022 Vodacom United Rugby Championship with a 33-30 win in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon.

The hosts, who deserve credit for never giving up, actually outscored their visitors by four tries to three, but Ireland flyhalf Jack Carty ensured his team hung on with an almost flawless kicking display, punishing the Emirates Lions for too many indiscretions in their own half.

In the end and despite playing with a lot of vigour – especially in the second half – the men from Johannesburg just could not recover from their slow start. It took them 15 minutes to get into a meaningful attacking position, but by then it was already 14-0 to the visitors.

The scores were tied at 30-30 with 10 minutes to go, and in the 75th minute Carty had the final say with his fourth penalty goal.

Scorers:

Emirates Lions 30 (8) – Tries: Rabz Maxwane, Morne van den Berg, Burger Odendaal, Edwill van der Merwe. Conversions: Jordan Hendrikse (2). Penalty goals: Hendrikse (2).

Connacht 33 (14) – Tries: Cian Prendergast, Tom Daly, Penalty try. Conversions: Jack Carty (2). Penalty goals: Carty (4).

Gutsy Cell C Sharks deny Leinster in wet Durban

The Cell C Sharks had to dig deep to beat an inexperienced Leinster side by 28-23 (half-time 14-17) in a very tense Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash played in difficult conditions in Durban on Saturday evening.

The hosts scored four tries to two, but it was a tough match against the pace-setters in the competition, who showed great grit with a team without of the most of their experienced players, clearly underlining the incredible depth at their disposal.

It was very close though as Leinster, trailing by five points and hot on the attack for the last few minutes, were held up over the Cell C Sharks’ tryline in injury time, with the hosts defence denying the visitors a dramatic win.

Full credit to the KwaZulu-Natalians, who will probably feel they could have sealed the result earlier in the match after they dominated the set pieces and made many telling line breaks, without getting points on the board.

Scorers:

Cell C Sharks 28 (14) – Tries: Makazole Mapimpi, Jaden Hendrikse, Bongi Mbonambi, Phepsi Buthelezi. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4).

Leinster 23 (17) – Tries: Scott Penny, Tommy O’Brien. Conversions: Ciaran Frawley (2). Penalty goals: Frawley (2).

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