Jake White's Bulls edge closer to Super Rugby Unlocked title
The Sharks and Stormers recorded much-needed victories to remain in contention on the log with Super Rugby Unlocked moving into the final straight, while the Bulls held onto their position at the top of the log.
Action in the fifth round kicked off in Durban on Friday evening, with the Sharks edging the Cheetahs by 19-13 in a match that burst into life in the final quarter. On Saturday afternoon in Kimberley, the Stormers made a big statement as they moved into second position on the log with an emphatic 39-6 win over Griquas.
And in the final match of the weekend, the Bulls had to dig deep to beat the Lions by 30-25 in a tough Jukskei Derby in Johannesburg, with both teams scoring three tries each. After five rounds, the Bulls are still at the top of the log on 19 points, with one match remaining, in two weeks’ time against the Phakisa Pumas, who had a bye this weekend.
The men from Pretoria are followed by the Stormers and Sharks (both on 13 points, but with two matches remaining), the Cheetahs (12), Lions (10), Pumas (5) and Griquas (2).
The reformatted 2020 Super Rugby tournament in South Africa comprises of seven teams that will play a single-round, home or away series of matches over seven weeks. Like Aotearoa, there will be no final with the winner being the team with the most number of tournament points after the seven rounds.
Cool-headed Bosch steers Sharks to home win
Curwin Bosch remained calm and collected under extreme pressure in the dying minutes of the Sharks' Super Rugby Unlocked clash against the Cheetahs at Jonsson Kings Park in Durban on Friday night to seal a 19-13 win for the hosts.
The Springbok flyhalf kicked four penalty goals and a conversion for a personal tally of 14 points, while he also created the team’s vital try with a little over two minutes left on the clock, which saw them overturn a deficit to earn back-to-back victories in the competition.
Both teams battled to make their presence felt in an error-ridden first half, which saw only six points being scored compliments of two penalty goals by Bosch.
The match livened up in the second half, but the last 13 minutes proved to be crucial as the Cheetahs took the lead before being reduced to 14 men, which saw the momentum switch in the home team’s favour.
Sharks 19 (6) – Try: Madosh Tambwe. Conversion: Curwin Bosch. Penalty goals: Bosch (4).
Cheetahs 13 (0) – Try: William Small-Smith. Conversion: Tian Schoeman. Penalty goals: Schoeman (2).
Stormers secure runaway victory in Kimberley
The Stormers delivered a superb second-half performance in their Super Rugby Unlocked encounter against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday to outplay the hosts 39-6.
The Capetonians dominated possession in the first half and capitalised on it to score two tries – one of which was converted – and a penalty goal for a handy 15-3 lead, and they built on this with four second half tries for a commanding victory.
The home side, in turn, battled to make their presence felt from the outset despite a concerted effort to penetrate the Stormers defence in the first half, and this showed on the scoreboard with their efforts earning them only two penalty goals.
Griquas 6 (3) – Penalty goals: Tinus de Beer (2).
Stormers 39 (15) – Tries: Ernst van Rhyn, Neethling Fouche, Angelo Davids, Dan du Plessis, Juarno Augustus, Damian Willemse. Conversions: Willemse (3). Penalty goal: Willemse (1).
Bulls come out on top in cracking Joburg arm-wrestle
The Bulls put in a massive second-half shift to consolidate their position at the top of the Super Rugby Unlocked standings by defeating the Lions by 30-25 in a cracking Jukskei Derby on Saturday evening.
The home team led by 15-10 at the break, but the men from Pretoria took control in the second half to secure their fourth victory of the competition, with the two packs drilling each other for 80 tough minutes. The Lions were dominant in the scrums, while the Bulls had the upper hand in the lineouts.
But the Johannesburgers’ discipline let them down and they were under pressure for most of the match as they conceded too many penalties and struggled under a barrage of high balls from the visitors.
On the other hand, the Vodacom Bulls played with a bit more composure and had the better of the collisions, while Morne Steyn (flyhalf) kept the scoreboard ticking over with a flawless kicking display as he landed all six of his efforts at goal.
Lions 25 (15) – Tries: Burger Odendaal, Morne van den Berg, Wandisile Simelane. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalty goals: Jantjies (2).
Bulls 30 (10) – Tries: Joe van Zyl, Stedman Gans, Kurt-Lee Arendse. Conversions: Morne Steyn (3). Penalty goals: Steyn (3).