The Vodacom Bulls delivered a strong performance in Italy to move back into the top four of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, but the three other South African teams found the going tough on the road in the Northern Hemisphere.
The DHL Stormers and Hollywoodbets Sharks came up short in Glasgow and London respectively, with no points scored in both their games’ second halves, while the Emirates Lions were pipped by Benetton in Treviso.
With three rounds completed, the Vodacom Bulls are in third place on the log with 11 points, one more than the DHL Stormers who are fourth after suffering their first defeat of the season. Two Irish teams, Connacht, and Munster, remain unbeaten at the top of the standings.
The Emirates Lions are in 14th spot with four points, while the Hollywoodbets Sharks are in last position and are yet to open their account after three disappointing defeats on the road.
Stormers' discipline costly in Glasgow
The DHL Stormers' first tour of the new Vodacom United Rugby Championship season started on a false note when Glasgow Warriors beat the 2022 champions by 20-9 in Scotland on Friday night.
The Capetonians failed to score a try - the first time since they joined the Vodacom URC more than two years ago.
Yellow cards to Evan Roos and Joseph Dweba late in the first half didn't help the DHL Stormers' cause, and with the Springbok forward duo in the sin bin, Johnny Matthews scored his second try for the Warriors.
The visitors improved on their first half performance after the break, but mistakes at crucial stages meant they could not shift gear to even get a losing bonus-point.
Glasgow Warriors 20 (20) – Tries: Johnny Matthews (2), Sione Tuipulotu. Conversion: George Horne. Penalty goal: Horne.
DHL Stormers 9 (9) – Penalty goals: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (3).
Ospreys make history in London
Welsh club the Ospreys didn't only make history by hosting their Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash against the Hollywoodbets Sharks in London, their 19-5 victory was also their first against a South African team.
Before Friday night's clash, Ospreys' record against SA teams read "played eight, lost seven, drawn one". But they were ninth time lucky against a Hollywoodbets Sharks teams that made way too many unforced errors,
Despite scoring first, when Phepsi Buthelezi went over in the third minute, the visitors simply never got into the groove of the game in front of a crowd of almost 7200 at the Twickenham Stoop, the first venue in England to host a Vodacom URC clash.
Ospreys scored three first-half tries to take control of the match, which they never relinquished as the KwaZulu-Natalians kept on making silly mistakes.
Ospreys 19 (19) – Tries: Jack Walsh, Max Nagy, Keiran Williams. Conversions: Walsh (2).
Hollywoodbets Sharks 5 (5) – Try: Phepsi Buthelezi.
Vodacom Bulls too good for Zebre in Parma
The Vodacom Bulls bounced back in style in Italy on Saturday when they scored eight tries in a comfortable 54-29 Vodacom United Rugby Championship victory over Zebre Parma at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.
Springbok hooker Akker van der Merwe crossed for two tries in the first half as the Vodacom Bulls laid a solid foundation, and the visitors from Pretoria scored their fourth try for a bonus-point in the 42nd minute when Devon Williams went over for the first of his two five-pointers.
That set the tone for a dominant second half performance in which David Kriel scored a hat-trick of tries for the Vodacom Bulls.
The men in blue were in control for the entire match, enjoying 62% possession and 61% territorial advantage, while Zebre were also their own worst enemies by conceding 16 penalties to the Vodacom Bulls' six.
Zebre Parma 29 (15) – Tries: Jacopo Bianchi, Geronimo Prisciantelli, Scott Gregory, Lorenzo Pani. Conversions: Prisciantelli (3). Penalty goal: Prisciantelli.
Vodacom Bulls 54 (21) – Tries: David Kriel (3), Devon Williams (2), Akker van der Merwe (2), Sergeal Petersen. Conversions: Johan Goosen (6), Chris Smith.
Benetton hold on against Emirates Lions in Treviso
The Emirates Lions fought tooth and nail against Benetton, but in the end just didn’t have enough to win as the Italian club won a tense Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash by 15-10 in Treviso on Sunday afternoon.
It was the men from Johannesburg’s third straight defeat in the competition, but they managed to get a losing bonus-point from this match, which was very much an arm wrestle.
Benetton scored first when Tongan international Malakai Fekitoa went over for a converted try in the fourth minute, but the only other points in the first half was a Jordan Hendrikse penalty goal in the 17th minute.
The hosts stretched their lead courtesy of a Jacob Umaga penalty goal in the 55th minute, but when Asenathi Ntlabakanye crashed over around the hour mark, with Sanele Nohamba converting, the scores were tied at 10-10.
A try by Ignacio Mendy with 10 minutes to go handed the lead back to Benetton, but the Emirates Lions refused to give up and kept possession for almost four minutes after the buzzer before they were stripped of the ball having made good ground in the process, and the Italians could celebrate.
Benetton 15 (7) – Tries: Malakai Fekitoa, Ignacio Mendy. Conversion: Tomas Albornoz. Penalty goal: Jacob Umaga.
Emirates Lions 10 (3) – Try: Asenathi Ntlabakanye. Conversion: Sanele Nohamba. Penalty goal: Jordan Hendrikse.
Leinster 36 Edinburgh 27
Scarlets 31 Cardiff Rugby 25
Munster 45 Dragons 14
Connacht 22 Ulster 20