The Toyota Cheetahs, Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers were victorious in three terrific Vodacom Super Rugby matches as the competition really took off in the third round.
On Friday evening, the Toyota Cheetahs sneaked home against the Blues in Bloemfontein, winning their second match of the season by 25-24 to remain one of only four unbeaten teams in 2015.
Saturday saw two local derbies of the highest calibre with Test-like intensity. Mirrroing the encounter in Bloemfontein, the results of both these matches were in the balance right until the end.
The Vodacom Bulls prodcued their maiden win of the season when they beat the Cell C Sharks by 43-35 in a superb match in Pretoria. Then the DHL Stormers clocked their third win from three matches when they beat the Emirates Lions by 22-19 in Johannesburg.
Toyota Cheetahs 25 (12) Blues 24 (14)
Toyota Cheetahs flyhalf Joe Pietersen slotted a superb late penalty goal to hand his team a one-point win over the Blues at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein in very windy conditions on Friday evening.
Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks scored two tries for the home team, while livewire scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius also finished a fine solo-move for the Free Staters’ third try.
It was a very even match and the result was in the balance right until the end, when Blues flyhalf Ihaia West pushed an attempted drop-goal wide. The home team had to defend for most of the match and did well to keep the dangerous Blues at bay.
Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen was a real thorn in the visitors’ flesh and was named the Man of the Match.
- Toyota Cheetahs – Tries: Cornal Hendricks (2), Sarel Pretorius. Conversions: Joe Pietersen (2). Penalty goals: Pietersen (2).
- Blues – Tries: Jerome Kaino, Luke Braid, Charlie Faumuina. Conversions: Ihaia West (3). Penalty goal: West.
Vodacom Bulls 43 (23) Cell C Sharks 35 (16)
The Vodacom Bulls outscored the Cell C Sharks by four tries to two as they recorded their first victory of the season by 43-35 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday afternoon.
The home team had to dig deep though as ill-discipline meant the visitors’ Springbok flyhalf, Pat Lambie, kept the scoreboard ticking over with some pin-point goal kicking. His counterpart and fellow Springbok pivot, Handre Pollard, was also bang on target on the night.
The Vodacom Bulls, who scored two tries in each half, probably used their opportunities better in this match, which delivered rugby of the highest calibre between South Africa’s two most successful franchises at this level – between them, they have played in seven Vodacom Super Rugby finals.
Jan Serfontein’s try, slightly fortuitous after the visitors coughed up the ball in their own 22, secured the Vodacom Bulls the bonus point, while the conversion by replacement flyhalf Tian Schoeman meant the Cell C Sharks had to leave Pretoria with empty hands.
- Vodacom Bulls – Tries: Francois Hougaard, Deon Stegmann, Pierre Spies, Jan Serfontein. Conversions: Handré Pollard (3), Tian Schoeman. Penalty goals: Pollard (4), Schoeman.
- Cell C Sharks – Tries: Ryan Kankowski, Cobus Reinach. Conversions: Pat Lambie (2). Penalty goals: Lambie (7).
Emirates Lions 19 (13) DHL Stormers 22 (9)
A late maul-try by Springbok flanker Siya Kolisi, coupled with some superb defence at the death, meant the DHL Stormers won their third match of the season in as many starts when they beat the Emirates Lions by 22-19 in Johannesburg on Saturday evening.
The home side had an opportunity to clinch the win at the end when Howard Mnisi went over, but a desperate tackle by Springbok centre Damian De Allende saw the ball knocked from his opponents’ hands.
The Emirates Lions disrupted their visitors from the Cape throughout the match and stole a huge amount of ball on the deck, while their defence was also rock solid for 76 minutes, until Kolisi was driven over.
The two flyhalves, Demetri Catrakilis and Elton Jantjies, kept the scoreboard ticking over for most of the match, with the Emirates Lions getting their only try, by loose forward Warwick Tecklenburg, late in the first quarter.
Similar to the encounter in Pretoria, the intensity at Emirates Airline Park was just as high with both teams going hammer and tongs at each other for the full 80 minutes.
- Emirates Lions – Try: Warwick Tecklenberg. Conversion: Elton Jantjies. Penalty goals: Jantjies (4).
- DHL Stormers – Try: Siya Kolisi. Conversion: Kurt Coleman. Penalty goals: Demetri Catrakilis (5).
Other results – Round 3:
- Rebels 15 Brumbies 20
- Chiefs 40 Crusaders 16
- Force 13 Hurricanes 42
- Highlanders 20 Reds 13
Logs – after Round 3:
|1||Hurricanes (NZ leader)||3||3||0||0||81||34||47||1||13|
|2||DHL Stormers (SA leader)||3||3||0||0||78||52||26||0||12|
|3||Brumbies (Aus leader)||3||2||0||1||84||37||47||2||10|
|4||Chiefs (Wild card)||3||3||0||0||82||51||31||1||13|
|5||Toyota Cheetahs (Wild card)||2||2||0||0||60||53||7||1||9|
|6||Cell C Sharks (Wild card)||3||1||0||2||93||90||3||2||6|
South African Conference
|3||Cell C Sharks||3||1||0||2||93||90||3||2||6|
New Zealand Conference
Top scorers – after Round 3:
|Patrick Lambie||Cell C Sharks||1||7||12||0||55|
|Handre Pollard||Vodacom Bulls||1||4||10||0||43|
|Demetri Catrakilis||DHL Stormers||0||3||12||0||42|
|Joe Pietersen||Toyota Cheetahs||0||4||5||0||23|
|Marnitz Boshoff||Emirates Lions||0||0||5||0||15|
|Elton Jantjies||Emirates Lions||0||1||4||0||14|
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