SA Teams strike four out of four in Vodacom URC

The South African teams secured another full house of wins in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship this weekend, earning 19 of a possible 20 points in the round.

The Cell C Sharks outclassed the Dragons 51-3 in Durban on Friday, while the Vodacom Bulls delivered a strong second half performance against Ulster for a rewarding 34-16 victory in Pretoria and the Emirates Lions held out a determined Edinburgh outfit for a 15-9 win in Johannesburg. The DHL Stormers completed the quartet of victories as they earned a bonus-point 29-13 victory against Ospreys in Cape Town.

These results saw the Vodacom Stormers hold onto sixth place on the log with 43 points following their eighth victory of the season, while the Vodacom Bulls trail by a single point in seventh position, and the Cell C Sharks are hot on their heels with 41 points.

The Emirates Lions, meanwhile, are further down on the table in 12th place with 30 points after winning their sixth match, with the weekend’s results marking their fourth win in a row after a disappointing start to the season.

Sharks outplay Dragons in stylish showing in Durban

The Cell C Sharks outplayed the Dragons 51-3 at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in a convincing showing to bounce back with a bonus-point victory in a morale-boosting performance on Friday night.

The home team made the most of their point-scoring chances in the first half with flyhalf Curwin Bosch kicking three penalty goals to add to tries by Springboks Ox Nche (prop) and Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), while they limited the visitors to a single penalty goal for their efforts for a 16-3 halftime lead.

They touched down two tries in the second half and were awarded two penalty tries – while they denied the visitors from adding to their score – which sealed a convincing victory for the team.

Bosch kicked back-to back penalty goals hand the team a 6-0 lead, and the Dragons hit back with a penalty goal by flyhalf Josh Lewis in the 15th min before the flyhalf slotted his third three-pointer.

Nche powered his way over tryline in the 14th minute for a handy 16-3 lead and Mbonambi scored their second try from a rolling maul in the 20 minutes later to extend their lead to 23-3, which they held onto until halftime.

The Durbanites picked up where they left off with Werner Kok (wing) dashing his way through several defenders in the 47th minute and the conversion stretched their lead to 30-3.

The home side’s dominance forced the Welshmen into desperate defence and the pressure earned the Cell C Sharks a one-man advantage soon after as Lewis received a yellow card for foul play in the 59th minute, and he was followed closely by Lewis Jones (replacement back) for a deliberate knock down, which saw them reduced to 13 men and led to the second penalty try.

Cell C Sharks fullback Anthony Volmink slashed through the defence shortly afterwards to extend their try tally, earning them an emphatic 51-3 victory.

Scorers:

Cell C Sharks 51 (23) – Tries: Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Werner Kok, Penalty Try (2), Anthony Volmink. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4). Penalty Goals: Curwin Bosch (3).

Dragons 3 (3) – Penalty Goal: Josh Lewis.

Bulls second half effort proves too much for Ulster

The Vodacom Bulls scored 31 points and four tries in the second half of their Vodacom URC clash against Ulster at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday to claim a well-deserved 34-16 win over Ulster.

Their Irish visitors held a 9-3 lead at the break but had no reply to the home side’s second half surge, spurred on by the biggest Vodacom URC crowd this season.

The Vodacom Bulls upped the tempo in the second stanza, and where Ulster had the best of the tight exchanges in the opening 40 minutes, there was no stopping flank Marcell Coetzee and his men.

The visitors benefitted from some ill-discipline by the men in blue scoring three penalty goals in the opening 10 minutes, while the home team’s flyhalf Chris Smith slotted one opportunity.

The hosts started to press on attack, but it was Doak again who got the next points. Duane Vermeulen (No 8) forced a penalty on defence and the scrumhalf’s 45-metre effort went through the middle of the uprights. He did so again two minutes later, this time from 53 meters out, but Doak missed a fourth shot at goal just before the break.

The Pretoria outfit started the second half with Arno Botha’s strong run sparking a wave of attacks, which saw Coetzee score against his old club, and this pushed the home side into the lead for the first time in the match (10-9). Smith kicked a second penalty goal and that not only created some scoreboard pressure, but also an injection of confidence as Madosh Tambwe (wing) scored a beauty of a try in the corner for a 20-9 lead.

Ulster recovered with a well-taken try by centre Luke Marshall and Doag’s conversion reduced the points margin to four again.

That comeback was thwarted again when lock Kieran Treadwell was yellow carded for a high shot, and the home side took advantage with hooker Johan Grobbelaar being driven over the line.

Unfortunately for the hosts Coetzee was yellow carded for a similar tackle as the one executed by Treadwell seven minutes from time, meaning that Ulster had the numerical advantage in the last five minutes of play.

That, however, did not matter as Kurt-Lee Arendse (fullback) intercepted near his own line and raced 85 meters to score under the sticks, which not only sealed the match, but also secured the bonus point for his team.

Scorers:

Vodacom Bulls 34 (3) – Tries: Marcell Coetzee, Madosh Tambwe, Johan Grobbelaar, Kurt-Lee Arendse. Conversions: Chris Smith (2), Morne Steyn (2). Penalty goals: Smith (2).

Ulster 16 (9) – Try: Luke Marshall. Conversion: Nathan Doak. Penalty goals: Doak (3).

Lions hold out Edinburgh for fourth win a row

The Emirates Lions held out a determined Edinburgh outfit in an intense Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday for a 15-9 win and a rewarding fourth home victory in a row.

The first half was hard-fought, but the Johannesburgers made the most of their limited chances with flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse scoring the only try of the half. The Scottish side were kept out by a tenacious defensive effort but had a 6-5 lead due to a penalty goal and drop goal in the opening 40 minutes.

The home side scored their second try of the match in the second half compliments of Vincent Tshituka (flank) and Hendrikse added a conversion and penalty goal, while Edinburgh’s only points were compliments of a penalty goal, which saw the Emirates Lions snatch the win.

Edinburgh earned the first points of the match with Henry Immelman (fullback) slotting over a well-timed drop goal in the 11th minute to hand the team a 3-0 lead, and they continued to show their intent as they got close to the tryline minutes later, which denied them the chance to add to their score.

Edinburgh wing Emiliano Boffelli made the most of their chance to extend their score as he kicked a penalty goal in the 28th minute to double their lead, but Hendrikse scored the home side’s first try of the match a minute later from good break on the outside and fine hands back in-field, closing their deficit to one point.

The visitors lost flank Magnus Bradbury later received a yellow card and the home side took advantage of the extra man, with Tshituka crossing the chalk after some great handling and support play, which pushed them 12-6 ahead.

Boffelli reduced the gap on scoreboard with a penalty goal in the 63rd minute, but this was cancelled out soon after as Hendrikse bashed over a penalty goal of the game to restore their lead to six points and some good defence in the end saw the hosts secure the 15-9 win.

Scorers:

Emirates Lions 15 (5) – Try: Jordan Hendrikse, Vincent Tshituka. Conversion: Jordan Hendrikse. Penalty Goal: Hendrikse.

Edinburgh 9 (6) – Penalty Goals: Emalino Malloti (2). Drop Goal: Henry Immelman.

DHL Stormers attack too slick for Ospreys

The DHL Stormers outscored the Ospreys four tries to one en route to a 29-13 victory at DHL Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday.

The home side’s attacking prowess proved too hot to handle for the Welsh visitors and their ability to score on the counter again proved decisive.

Ospreys flyhalf Gareth Anscombe got his side on the board early with a penalty goal, but the home side struck back with a spectacular effort, with Paul de Wet (scrumhalf) scoring after Manie Libbok (flyhalf) had slipped past a couple of defenders and found his halfback partner on his inside, which pushed them into a 7-3 lead after six minutes.

Three minutes later a delightful passage of play and offloads by the Capetonians saw Adre Smith (lock) score next to the upright.

Anscombe kicked a second penalty goal after the hosts conceded two soft penalties, allowing the Ospreys to first get field position and then an easy shot at goal for their flyhalf.

The DHL Stormers scored their third try in the blink of an eye, with flanker Hacjivah Dayimani finding Leolin Zas (wing) in space to hand his side a comforting 19-6 lead after 30 minutes.

The last ten minutes of the half delivered some frantic play on attack, with both sides letting the ball go through the hands. The home side got more rewards from this though as Libbok kicked a 39th minute penalty goal.

After some running from deep by prominent wing Seabelo Senatla, it was his fellow wing, Zas, who kicked ahead and regathered to score the bonus point try for the home side in the second half and Libbok converted for a 29-6 lead.

Zas received a yellow card ten minutes later for not retreating 10 meters after a penalty against his side, and Libbok followed shortly after as he knocked down a pass when the Ospreys found some space to attack. That gave the visitors a two-man numerical advantage on attack and they did so with vigour.

The Ospreys kept plugging away and their reward was a try on the final siren, with replacement wing Max Nagy dotting down. Anscombe kicked the conversion to give the Welsh outfit some small comfort.

Scorers:

DHL Stormers 29 (22) – Tries: Paul de Wet, Adre Smith, Leolin Zas (2). Conversions: Manie Libbok (3). Penalty goal: Libbok.

Ospreys 13 (6) – Try: Max Nagy. Conversion: Gareth Anscombe. Penalty goals: Anscombe (2).

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