The Vodacom Bulls moved up to second place on the South African conference log with a 40-10 victory over the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday with fullback Warrick Gelant scoring a hat-trick of tries.
Former skipper Adriaan Strauss scored one of the visitors’ three first-half tries in his 150thVodacom Super Rugby appearance, extending his record for the most capped SA player in the competition.
John Mitchell’s team enjoyed a bye last week and they looked full of energy especially in a sparkling opening spell and enjoyed a deserved 21-10 halftime lead.
The victory allowed the winners to leapfrog their opponents into second place on the local conference log, albeit on point difference. Although both teams have 14 points, the Pretoria side (7 matches) not only has a healthier point margin but also a match in hand over the first-placed Emirates Lions and the Durbanites (8 games each).
Both teams remain 11 points behind local leaders the Emirates Lions (25 points), who along with the DHL Stormers and the Crusaders were not in action this weekend.
Saturday’s big win in slippery conditions was the sixth straight win for the team in light blue over their Durban rivals, who had three brothers – Robert, Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez – in their match squad.
In the only other SA conference match played on Saturday morning the Jaguares returned to winning ways when they clinched a 25-22 come-from-behind win over the Rebels in Melbourne.
Elsewhere, the Waratahs moved to the top of the Australian conference table with a 37-16 bonus-point triumph over the Reds in a fixture played at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
In the New Zealand conference, the Highlanders kept their unbeaten home record intact thanks to a 43-17 win over the Brumbies in Dunedin on Saturday. The Blues won for the second time when they registered a 24-10 win over the winless Sunwolves while the Hurricanes defeated the Chiefs 25-13 on Friday morning in Wellington.
Cell C Sharks 40 – Try: André Esterhuizen. Conversion: Robert du Preez. Penalty: Du Preez.
Vodacom Bulls 10 – Tries: Warrick Gelant (3), Adriaan Strauss, penalty try, Johnny Kotze. Conversions: Handré Pollard (3), Manie Libbok.
Other Round 9 results of the weekend:
Friday, 13 April
Hurricanes 25, Chiefs 13
Saturday, 14 April
Sunwolves 10, Blues 24
Rebels 22, Jaguares 25
Highlanders 43, Brumbies 17
Waratahs 37, Reds 16
Byes: DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions, Crusaders
The Vodacom Super Rugby standings after Round 9:
New Zealand Conference
South African Conference
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