A quick look at the weekend’s rugby results:
The Sharks won their first Super Rugby match of 2012 while the Bulls let slip an opportunity to remain top of the log as they lost at home to the Blues. The Cheetahs got the weekend underway from a South African perspective by narrowly going down to the Brumbies, by 24-23, in Canberra on Saturday morning, after some seriously dubious calls from Kiwi referee Keith Brown
The Sharks, in their first home game of the season, scored four tries as they defeated the Lions 32-20. That was followed by the Blues upsetting the Bulls by 29-23 in Pretoria, with the visitors’ young flyhalf, Gareth Anscombe, scoring all his team’s points.
The Reds, Highlanders, Stormers and Brumbies are the only unbeaten teams left, but the latter two teams have both had a bye, the Capetonians having theirs this past weekend.
Brumbies 24 (10) Cheetahs 23 (13)
The Cheetahs were pipped at the post with a last-minute penalty as they came very close to only their second victory in Australia, the Brumbies eventually winning this high intensity Super Rugby encounter 24-23.
The Cheetahs were desperately unfortunate to concede a slew of questionable penalties late in the game, this after referee Keith Brown had let the Brumbies go unpunished for regular early engageents come scrum time … It allowed the Brumbies fight back from being 23-10 behind with half an hour to go.
Apart from the penalties which ultimately cost them the game, the Cheetahs showed a vast improvement from last weekend. Their defence was generally very good and Springbok flanker Heinrich Brüssow was at his brilliant best at the breakdowns, turning over a lot of possession for the visitors.
The Cheetahs scored two good tries, first by electric left wing Willie le Roux off a set move from a line-out in the first half which saw Coenie Oosthuizen get a sneaky inside pass to Le Roux, and then shortly after the break by scrumhalf Tewis de Bruyn.
Flyhalf Johan Goosen, part of the SA Under-20 training squad, missed his first kick at goal in 217 minutes of Super Rugby this season when his attempt at a 62 metre penalty goal fell short. That was his 17th kick at goal this season.
Brumbies – Tries: Henry Speight, Pat McCabe. Conversion: Christian Lealiifano. Penalty goals: Lealiifano (4).
Cheetahs – Tries: Willie le Roux, Tewis de Bruyn. Conversions: Johan Goosen (2). Penalty goals: Goosen (3).
The Sharks 32 (17) Lions 20 (6)
The Sharks scored their first victory of the season when they beat a depleted Lions side 32-20 in Durban on Saturday, scoring their fourth try for a valuable bonus point at the death.
Jacques Botes’ try in the 79th minute, from a rolling maul, gave The Sharks their third bonus point of 2012, but for the first time this season it was for try-scoring alongside a win.
This followed first half tries by Riaan Viljoen (fullback) and Lwazi Mvovo (left wing), both in the left corner of the field.
The Lions, despite losing three props as well as their playmaker, Elton Jantjies, to injuries this week, never gave up and scored two tries in the second half, by fullback Jaco Taute and replacement prop Ruan Dreyer.
When Dreyer drove over with five minutes left, the score was 27-20 to the home side, but they kept their eye on the prize and pushed through when it really mattered.
Sharks – Tries: Riaan Viljoen, Lwazi Mvovo, Meyer Bosman, Jacques Botes. Conversions: Pat Lambie (3). Penalty goals: Lambie (2).
Lions – Tries: Jaco Taute, Ruan Dreyer. Conversions: Butch James (2). Penalty goals: James (2).
Bulls 23 (8) Blues 29 (20)
Young Blues flyhalf, Gareth Anscombe, made sure the Loftus Versfeld faithful will not forget his name soon as he scored all of the Aucklanders’ points in their 29-23 victory – their first of 2012 – over a lacklustre Bulls side on Saturday.
The home side managed a bonus point for losing by fewer than seven points when Bjorn Basson scored his second try of the night and Morné Steyn added the conversion, but it was scant consolation as the Blues recorded only the second away victory ever in matches between these sides.
It was almost ironic that this kick, probably Steyn’s most difficult of the night, bagged the Bulls a bonus point, as the Springbok flyhalf had been wayward with the boot for most of the match, missing four of his seven kicks at goal.
Steyn’s opposite number, the 20-year-old Anscombe, in his first start, scored two tries, converted both and added five penalty goals for 29 points. He got on the score sheet in second minute thanks to an intercept try and again in the 39th minute with his second try. He hit seven from nine of his attempts at goal.
The Bulls also kept themselves under pressure with a slew of unnecessary mistakes, while the Blues used their opportunities and kept calm heads when it was required.
Bulls – Tries: Pierre Spies, Bjorn Basson (2). Conversion: Morné Steyn. Penalty goals: Steyn (2).
Blues – Tries: Gareth Anscombe (2). Conversions: Anscombe (2). Penalty goals: Anscombe (5).
Other S15 results – Round 3:
Crusaders 19 Chiefs 24 (Napier)
Force 19 Hurricanes 46 (Perth)
Highlanders 18 Waratahs 17 (Dunedin)
Reds 11 Rebels 6 (Brisbane)
Free State 34 – 30 SWD
Western Province 51 – 22 Boland
Leopards 23 – 16 Golden Lions
Valke 30 – 55 Pumas
Blue Bulls 17 – 36 Griquas
Pampas XV 26 – 34 EP
Border 0 – 42 Sharks
Ireland 32 – 14 Scotland
Wales 24 – 3 Italy
France 22 – 24 England
Next weekend’s Super rugby fixtures:
Friday, March 16, 2012
08:35: Chiefs v Brumbies, Baypark, Tauranga
19:10: Stormers v Blues, Newlands, Cape Town
Saturday, March 17, 2012
08:35: Hurricanes v Highlanders, Westpac, Wellington
10:40: Waratahs v Force, Sydney
17:05: Sharks v Reds, Kings Park, Durban
Sunday, March 18, 2012
07:10: Rebels v Cheetahs, AAMI Park, Melbourne
Congratulations to Johnny Law who tops the Front Row Grunt Superbru leader board on 22 points, edging out last week’s leader, JLo by 0.17 of a point!
My 4 from 7 keeps me in the mid table morass of the Grunt pool, but does get me to equal second (with AJ Venter) in the Legends pool …
Well done to all of those that did the Argus this year. I was hoping to be sharing the beauty and the pain with you but a stolen bike put pay to those ambitions sadly … Next year …