The Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers were victorious on a weekend where all five South African Vodacom Super Rugby franchises were involved in low-scoring matches.
In all three matches involving teams from the Republic, the most points the different teams on the winning side in any of the encounters could score were 19. Only five tries were scored in these matches.
The Vodacom Bulls lost to the Waratahs for the first time since the 2005 semi-final when they were beaten by 19-12, with a try in the opening minute by Israel Folau the difference between the two sides in Sydney.
Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe was cited after the match. He is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking when he made contact with the Waratahs’ Paddy Ryan in the 75th minute of the match.
In Durban, the Cell C Sharks ground out a victory in a tough derby for the second successive week when they beat the Toyota Cheetahs by 19-8, with each side scoring only one try each.
The final match of the weekend saw the DHL Stormers end a five-match losing streak when they beat the Lions by 18-3 after leading 18-0 at the break in Cape Town.
Following this match, DHL Stormers lock Michael Rhodes was issued with an off-field yellow card for contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle in the 27th minute. After the referee for the match did not act upon the incident and upon further review, the Citing Commissioner deemed an off-field yellow card was appropriate.
Waratahs 19 (13) Vodacom Bulls 12 (6)
The Vodacom Bulls are still winless on the road in 2014 after they lost their third match on their Australasian Vodacom Super Rugby tour by 19-12 to the Waratahs in Sydney.
As they were in their last two matches, the Vodacom Bulls were never completely out of it and they played for a draw at the death, but when they lost the ball at yet another ruck inside the Waratahs’ 22, it was all over for the visitors.
Their breakdown woes continued in Sydney, where the team from Pretoria were on the back foot from the word go. The Vodacom Bulls made a hash of the kick-off and before the announcer could say, “Welcome to Allianz Stadium, enjoy your stay”, Israel Folau scored the only try of the match.
For the next 79 minutes the Vodacom Bulls had to play catch-up rugby. At first they simply could not get going and they lifted their game late in the first half and after the break, they kept on losing possession at crucial times.
In the end, the Waratahs managed to keep the Vodacom Bulls at bay and as a result won their first game against the three-time champions since 2005.
Waratahs: Try: Israel Folau. Conversion: Bernard Foley. Penalty goals: Foley (4).
Vodacom Bulls: Penalty goals: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (3), Handré Pollard.
Cell C Sharks 19 (3) Toyota Cheetahs 8 (3)
For the second successive week, Frans Steyn’s boot proved to be the catalyst the Cell C Sharks needed to win a typically tough South African Vodacom Super Rugby derby when they beat the Toyota Cheetahs by 19-8 at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday afternoon.
Steyn slotted three penalty goals after half-time to break a 3-3 deadlock against a Toyota Cheetahs side that limited the number of mistakes they made compared to the last fortnight. Their defence was also much better.
With the home team leading by 12-3, an opportunistic try by Rayno Benjamin for the Toyota Cheetahs saw the visitors close the gap to 12-8 with a bit over 10 minutes to play.
But a few minutes later, Jean Deysel burrowed over for the Cell C Sharks’ only try of the match. Steyn added the conversion and at 19-8, the visitors needed to score twice if they were going to cause an upset.
It was not to be though and the Cell C Sharks opened up a gap at the top of the log from the chasing pack.
Cell C Sharks: Try: Jean Deysel. Conversion: Frans Steyn. Penalty goals: Steyn (3), Tim Swiel.
Toyota Cheetahs: Try: Rayno Benjamin. Penalty goal: Elgar Watts.
DHL Stormers 18 (18) Lions 3 (0)
Two first half tries, coupled with a great defensive display, were enough for the DHL Stormers to record their second win of the Vodacom Super Rugby season when they beat the Lions by 18-3 at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.
The home team played some of their best rugby of the season before half-time, which allowed Damian de Allende and Nizaam Carr to score the only two tries of the match.
Their defence was also very good against a Lions team that is never shy to run with the ball. It took the visitors from Johannesburg 44 minutes to get on the score board, when Marnitz Boshoff slotted his first and only penalty goal.
Those three points were the only which were scored in the entire second half as both teams started to make mistakes. But this victory was enough to lift the DHL Stormers from the bottom of the log after they lost their last five matches.
For the Lions, who started the 2014 season pretty well, this was their third successive defeat. They have a bye next week before their Australasian tour kicks-off against the defending champion Chiefs in Hamilton on May 3.
DHL Stormers: Tries: Damian de Allende, Nizaam Carr. Conversion: Peter Grant. Penalty goals: Demetri Catrakilis, Grant.
Lions: Penalty goal: Marnitz Boshoff.
Other results – Round Ten:
Hurricanes 39 Blues 20 (Wellington)
Rebels 22 Force 16 (Melbourne)
Chiefs 17 Crusaders 18 (Hamilton)