It was a weekend of sunshine and rain – literally and figuratively – for the South African teams in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, with the Cell C Sharks making the most of their first home game of the season while the DHL Stormers managed to keep their unbeaten run intact in Wales.
The Emirates Lions came close in perfect conditions in Johannesburg, but the Vodacom Bulls struggled in the wet in Ireland and lost their second match on the bounce.
The DHL Stormers encountered heavy downpours in Swansea, where they faced a strong Ospreys team, and in the end, they sides shared the spoils 16-16, scoring one try apiece.
On Saturday afternoon, the sunny and hot weather in Johannesburg contributed to a festival of tries, with the Emirates Lions coming up just short of Ulster in a superb clash, with the men from Ireland ensuring they remain in the top-two on the log courtesy of a 39-37 win.
The Cell C Sharks were in brilliant form in the second half of their clash in Durban against the Glasgow Warriors, sealing their first home game of the season in impressive fashion with a 40-12 win.
But back in the Northern Hemisphere, the Vodacom Bulls came across more rain in Limerick, where they lost by 31-17 to a Munster side that had been struggling so far this season.
All four SA teams are still in the top-six on the standings though, with the DHL Stormers in third on 17 points from their four games, followed by the Cell C Sharks in fourth (15 points from four games), Emirates Lions in fifth (15 from five) and the Vodacom Bulls in sixth spot with 14 points from five games.
Leinster (23 from five) and Ulster (21 from five) lead on the log, with Benetton (14 from five), Cardiff (13 from five) and Edinburgh (13 from five) occupying positions seven to nine.
The DHL Stormers ensured that they remained unbeaten in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship on Friday night as they secured a 16-16 draw against Ospreys in their second away game of the competition in Swansea in their round-five clash.
The result ensured that they remained the only South African side to remain unbeaten in the competition so far as they battled torrential rain as much as their Welsh opponents.
The first half was a tight tussle with neither team able to gain real dominance with the only points in the first half coming compliments of penalty goals by DHL Stormers’ Manie Libbok, who kicked two to only one by the Ospreys, which handed the Cape side a handy 6-3 half-time lead.
The second half proved to be a ding-dong battle with each team scoring a try through DHL Stormers scrumhalf Paul de Wet and Ospreys replacement hooker Scott Baldwin to add to additional penalty goals by Libbok and Myler.
Ospreys 16 (3) – Try: Scott Baldwin. Conversion: Stephen Myler. Penalty goals: Myler (3).
DHL Stormers 16 (6) – Try: Paul de Wet. Conversion: Manie Libbok. Penalty goals: Libbok (3).
Ulster beat the Emirates Lions by 39-37 (halftime 15-18) in a 10-try thriller in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon to halt an impressive winning run in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship by the men in red.
Both sides scored five tries each and while it looked like the visitors were running away with things midway through the second half, the hosts never gave up, and if it wasn’t for a number of unforced errors throughout the match, the Emirates Lions could have made it four from five in the 2022 season.
As it stands, they got two bonus points, but the Emirates Lions could have won this game, with the big swing coming on either side of half-time when Ulster scored 19 points in six minutes to take command of the match, and ensure they stay at the right end on the standings.
Emirates Lions 37 (18) – Tries: Francke Horn (2), Emmanuel Tshituka, Quan Horn, Andries Coetzee. Conversions: Gianni Lombard, Jordan Hendrikse (2). Penalty goals: Lombard (2).
Ulster 39 (15) – Tries: Rob Baloucoune, Billy Burns, Rob Lyttle, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Herring. Conversions: John Cooney (3), Nathan Doak. Penalty goals: Cooney, Doak.
The Cell C Sharks delivered a strong second-half showing in their Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash against the Glasgow Warriors at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in Durban on Saturday in their opening home game of the competition to secure a bonus-point 40-12 victory.
Both teams scored a try apiece in the first half, with wing Anthony Volmink touching down for the Cell C Sharks and Glasgow Warriors flanker Thomas Gordon earning his team’s five-pointer, while flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain added two penalty goals for the hosts, which handed them a 13-7 halftime lead.
The Durbanites broke away on the scoreboard in the second half thanks to four tries to one by the visitors, while Chamberlain added his third penalty goal for the rewarding win.
Cell C Sharks 40 (13) – Tries: Anthony Volmink (2), Bongi Mbonambi, Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok. Conversions: Boeta Chamberlain (3). Penalty goals: Chamberlain (3).
Glasgow Warriors 12 (7) – Tries: Thomas Gordon (2). Conversion: Tom Jordan.
The Vodacom Bulls' travel troubles continued on another damp, Celtic Saturday night as they went down 31-17 (halftime 17-3) to struggling Munster in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship at Thomond Park in Limerick.
The Irish province picked up only their second win in five matches as the Vodacom Bulls were again left point-less after last weekend’s 35-21 defeat in an equally damp Glasgow.
The visitors reserved their best rugby for the final quarter – finally shaking off the torpor that had seen them slip 21 points in arrears and in danger of a complete implosion shortly after halftime.
They pressed hard for the losing bonus point after their second try had got them into striking distance. They hammered away for five solid minutes but time ran out against a resolute Munster defence for an often one-dimensional attack.
Munster 31 (17) – Tries: Gavin Coombes (2), Jeremy Loughman, Tadhg Beirne. Conversions: Joey Carbery (4). Penalty goal: Carbery.
Vodacom Bulls 17 (3) – Tries: David Kriel, WJ Steenkamp. Conversions: Chris Smith (2). Penalty goal: Johan Goosen.
Connacht 0 Leinster 10
Cardiff 31 Dragons 14
Edinburgh 53 Benetton 8
Scarlets 31 Zebre Parma 12