The weekend’s results:
Highlanders 30 – 27 Blues
Reds 13 – 23 Stormers
Hurricanes 14 – 42 Crusaders
Waratahs 30 – 21 Melbourne Rebels
Sharks 12 – 18 Chiefs
Bulls 36 – 34 Brumbies
Sharks 28 – 18 Eastern Province
SWD 14 – 29 Western Province
Lions 33 – 37 Pumas
Leopards 40 – 42 Griquas
Boland 45 – 40 Border
Free State 20 – 40 Pampas
Valke 33 – 38 Griffons
Newcastle 3 – 9 Saracens
Bath 17 – 12 Wasps
Gloucester 19 – 24 Sale
Harlequins 33 – 43 Leicester
Worcester 16 – 25 London Irish
Ospreys 31 – 12 Newport
Ulster 8 – 16 Leinster
Connacht 19 – 16 Aironi Rugby
Scarlets 20 – 20 Munster
Clermont 22 – 9 Montpellier
Toulouse 30 – 21 Brive
Bordeaux 29 – 15 Agen
Lyon 19 – 20 Bayonne
Stade Francais 35 – 31 Perpignan
Biarritz 22 – 13 Racing Metro
Toulon 25 – 25 Castres
WP Super League A:
UCT 54-19 Belhar
False Bay 3-49 Hammies
Villagers 11-55 Maties
Tygerberg 18-34 SK Walmers
Vics 10-32 Durb/Bell
Match reports for the SA Super Rugby games:
Reds 13 (3) Stormers 23 (17)
Springbok flyhalf Peter Grant was on fire as the Stormers delivered a great first-half performance, scorin g two tries in this period, with Gio Aplon and Grant crossing for the visitors. It was their second victory in their third tour match this season.
The visitors had to withstand periods of sustained attack from the Reds, but thus far this season their defensive organisation and tackling have been superb, and it was no different against the Reds.
Aplon’s try was a genuine cracker (not a word one uses lightly these days). After an early penalty goal by Grant, the Reds attacked strongly, but Juan de Jongh forced a turnover with a massive hit. Aplon started the move on his own tryline, and the Capetonians pushed the home team back into their own 22, and from the ensuing lineout the Springbok flyer went over to take the visitors to a 10-0 lead with eight minutes gone in the game.
Grant, who had a big hand in Aplon’s try, scored his first of the season shortly before the break from a move that started deep in the Stormers’ own half. This try put the South Africans ahead 17-3 and all but sealed the win at Suncorp.
Wallaby captain James Horwill crossed late in the match to make it semi interesting on the scoreboard, but there was only ever one team winning this game. Duane Vermeulen passed his captaincy test, Steven Kitshoff scrummed very well indeed, Kolisi continues to impress, while Grant, Aplon and De Jongh put in performances worthy of international recognition.
Reds – Try: James Horwill. Conversion: Mike Harris. Penalty goals: Ben Lucas, Harris.
Stormers – Tries: Gio Aplon, Peter Grant. Conversions: Grant (2). Penalty goals: Grant (3).
The Sharks 12 (3) Chiefs 18 (10)
The Chiefs showed why they arrived in Durban as New Zealand Conference leaders, and not even the humid conditions that made handling difficult could blunt their performance …
While they spilled the ball quite frequently, the Chiefs’ defence held firm. They did not concede a single try at Kings Park and are the leading defensive team in the competition this year, having only given away eight tries from their eight matches.
The Sharks had a fair share of the possession, but didn’t manage to do too much with it, handling errors and the visitors’ defence snuffing out a number of scoring opportunities. The Durban boys also struggled to gain the upper hand in the set pieces.
Aaron Cruden scored early for the Chiefs, after which an arm wrestle ensued. The Sharks fought back well and had an opportunity to take the lead late in the match, but the penalty attempt by Springbok Pat Lambie fell short.
In the dying seconds Chiefs replacement Augustine Pulu stretched his team’s lead with a sneaky try around the blind side when the Sharks’ players thought he was going to kick the ball out and end the match. Cruden’s conversion hit the upright, which meant the home team left with a losing bonus point.
Sharks – Penalty goals: Pat Lambie (4).
Chiefs – Tries: Aaron Cruden, Augustine Pulu. Conversion: Cruden. Penalty goals: Cruden (2).
Bulls 36 (19) Brumbies 34 (13)
The Bulls went to sleep in the last 20 minutes and were outscored by five tries to two, but still managed to beat the Brumbies, thanks mainly to a superb kicking display by Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn.
The Bulls were not great defensively, but thanks to their pressure game, the Brumbies conceded too many kickable penalties, which Steyn gladly turned into points.
Had the Brumbies played more than only 20 odd minutes of rugby, the score could’ve been different. They scored all their tries in the first 13 and final 12 minutes.
But the Bulls were supreme for much of the game, although their attacking play often let them down when tries were on the table.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, and enjoying a 13 point margin, the Bulls had a penalty just outside of the Brumbies 22. Instead of being bold and going for the lineout, and thus the bonus point try, they opted instead for the kick to take them 16 points clear. It proved decisive on the scoreboard, but a different attitude would have seen the Brumbies 18 or 20 points down, and dead and buried. Instead the visitors seemed to pick up on the defensive attitude, and they duly pounced, for which they deserve credit …
The home team probably lost some momentum when coach Frans Ludeke made a host of replacements late in the game, but in the end they had enough left in the tank.
Next week, the Pretorians will enjoy a bye before they head on tour.
Bulls – Tries: Bjorn Basson, CJ Stander. Conversion: Morné Steyn. Penalty goals: Steyn (7). Drop goal: Steyn.
Brumbies – Tries: Henry Speight, Jesse Mogg, Andrew Smith, Ian Prior, Anthony Hegarty. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (3). Penalty goal: Lealiifano.
Well done to Simon Robinson on his yellow cap in the Front Row Grunt Super Rugby SuperBru pool, and Danie Calitz who now tops the table after nine weeks of action. Tank’s My brave/silly/go for the upset picks back fired badly, his 3 out of 6 sending him 104 places down on the log to 329th out of 533!