The weekend’s results:
Lions 18 – 32 Bulls
Cheetahs 33 – 39 Chiefs
Brumbies 37 – 6 Rebels
Crusaders 31 – 24 Stormers
Force 18 – 23 Waratahs
Blues 23 – 29 Sharks
Boland 21 – 19 Sharks
Free State XV 36 – 28 Border
Western Province 20 – 16 Pampas
Griquas 30 – 35 Lions
SWD 25 – 27 Eastern Province
Griffons 19 – 30 Leopards
Blue Bulls 49 – 8 Valke
Northampton 21 – 35 Leicester
Worcester 26 – 31 Exeter
Gloucester 20 – 29 Newcastle
Harlequins 33 – 17 Wasps
London Irish 19 – 28 Saracens
Sale 16 – 9 Bath
Connacht 26 – 21 Ulster
Munster 35 – 29 Glasgow
Cardiff Blues 12 – 33 Ospreys
Newport 32 – 33 Treviso
Leinster 54 – 13 Edinburgh
Clermont 25 – 9 Stade Francais
Castres 44 – 20 Bordeaux
Racing Metro Paris 40 – 19 Brive
Montpellier 43 – 12 Lyon
Agen 22 – 13 Toulon
Bayonne 24 – 19 Biarritz
Perpignan 25 – 10 Toulouse
Super Rugby match reports:
Blues 23 (13) The Sharks 29 (15)
In a game that SANZAR will not be tripping over themselves to use in the marketing video for Super Rugby, The Sharks stretched their winning streak over the Blues to eight as they ended their Australasian tour on a high.
The Sharks outscored the struggling home side by four tries to two, their first two coming after interceptions in their own half. First Keegan Daniel, who had a magnificent game off the back of the scrum, made it to within five metres of the Blues’ line before Steven Sykes crashed over, after which Craig Burden intercepted and sprinted 55m to score next to the sticks.
Daniel and Tim Whitehead also scored for the visitors in the second half, but only after the Blues wiped out a 15-0 deficit to lead by 20-15 shortly after the break.
Blues – Tries: Tony Woodcock, Benson Stanley. Conversions: Gareth Anscombe (2). Drop Goal: Anscombe. Penalty goals: Anscombe (2).
Sharks – Tries: Steven Sykes, Craig Burden, Keegan Daniel, Tim Whitehead. Conversions: Patrick Lambie (3). Penalty goal: Lambie.
Crusaders 31 (19) Stormers 24 (13)
The Stormers’ unbeaten run came to an end in Christchurch, with Tom Taylor, the young Crusaders pivot, scoring all the points for the home side by converting his own try and slotting eight penalty goals, and not missing a single kick at goal.
The Cape side could not have asked for a worse start, losing both Andries Bekker and Eben Etzebeth to injury inside the first 20 minutes of the game. They also lost Peter Grant to the blood bin in the same period … And although the Stormers outscored the home team by two tries to one, with Juan de Jongh and Bryan Habana crossing the line, their discipline did let them down – especially with regard to being offside on defence, and area that referee Chris Pollock had obviously been asked to keep a close eye on …. That allowed Taylor to aim at goal eight times and keep the score board ticking over for the Crusaders.
A part of the problem was that the Stormers struggled to get out of their own half, with their line-kicking not always up to scratch. In fact, there was a lot of tactical kicking from both sides, but these kicks didn’t always produce the desired results.
The goal kicking twas much better. Between Taylor and the two Stormers kickers, Joe Pietersen and Peter Grant, they missed only one kick at goal from 14 attempts. Grant’s second penalty goal, after the hooter had sounded, bagged his team a bonus point.
While the first two tries, by De Jongh and Taylor, came from turn-overs, Habana’s five-pointer was a beauty as he collected a superb cross kick after a period of sustained pressure by the Stormers deep in the Crusaders’ territory.
Crusaders – Try: Tom Taylor. Conversion: Taylor. Penalty goals: Taylor (8).
Stormers – Tries: Juan de Jongh, Bryan Habana. Conversion: Joe Pietersen. Penalty goals: Pietersen (2), Peter Grant (2).
Cheetahs 33 (9) Chiefs 39 (10)
The Chiefs moved to the top of the log with this victory in Bloemfontein on Saturday – their first over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein and their fourth overall against the team from Bloem.
The Cheetahs tried valiantly to curb the visitors, but in the end the team from Waikato simply had too much fire power as they scored five tries to two.
Both the Cheetahs’ tries were scored by second half replacements – Ashley Johnson intercepted and sprinted 50m to score and Johan Goosen rounded off some good attacking play in the left corner.
Goosen clinched a bonus point for the home team with a long-range penalty after the hooter had sounded.
The Cheetahs were with their backs to the wall for most of the game as the Chiefs arrived in Bloemfontein with the clear intent to score tries. Following the Stormers’ defeat in Christchurch earlier on Saturday, the team from Waikato knew they could take first spot on the log, and that was what they went for.
Cheetahs – Tries: Ashley Johnson, Johan Goosen. Conversion: Goosen. Penalty goals: Sias Ebersohn (4), Goosen (3).
Chiefs – Tries: Lelia Masaga, Sona Taumalolo (2), Sonny-Bill Williams, Richard Kahui. Conversions: Aaron Cruden (4). Penalty goals: Cruden (4).
Lions 18 (10) Bulls 32 (20)
The Bulls were deserved winners in a stop-start derby at the Coke Can on Saturday evening.
Although the three-time champions from Pretoria scored five tries to the hosts’ two and left with a full haul of five log points, they won’t be entirely satisfied as they left a number of good try scoring opportunities on the table.
Flyhalf Morné Steyn had what can only be described as a nightmare with the boot, only managing to succeed with three kicks from eight at goal for a personal tally of seven points.
Both sides committed way too many unforced errors, but these proved more costly for the Lions.
The Bulls got their fourth try in the first minute of the second half when former SA Under-20 captain CJ Stander, who had a great night, went over, adding to the tries scored in the first half by Akona Ndungane, Zane Kirchner and Francois Hougaard.
Juandré Kruger also crossed after a magnificent break by JJ Engelbrecht, who looked very at home at outside centre, while the Lions’ tries were scored by Tian Meyer – from a charge down in the second minute of the game – and their hard-working captain, Josh Strauss, after a period of sustained pressure in the second half.
Lions – Tries: Tian Meyer, Josh Strauss. Conversion: Elton Jantjies. Penalty goals: Jantjies, Jaco Taute.
Bulls – Tries: Akona Ndungane, Francois Hougaard, Zane Kirchner, CJ Stander, Juandré Kruger. Conversions: Morné Steyn (2). Penalty goal: Steyn.