The DHL Stormers finished their Australasian tour with a second win while the Vodacom Bulls consolidated their position at the top of the South African Conference as Vodacom Super Rugby 2015 entered the second half of the season.
However, the Toyota Cheetahs and Cell C Sharks both lost at home as the teams from Pretoria and Cape Town opened up a bit of a gap in the local conference and the Vodacom Bulls moved up to second on the overall log.
The DHL Stormers were made to work hard for a deserved win in Perth on Saturday afternoon as they defeated the struggling Force by 13-6, the only five-pointer of the encounter a penalty try to the visitors after yet another superb scrum. The win concluded their best Australasian tour in three years.
Back home, the Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks delivered a typically hard local derby in Durban with the three-time champions from Pretoria ultimately winning by 17-10, with each team scoring a solitary try.
The Toyota Cheetahs unfortunately could not build on their good win in Perth last weekend when they were beaten by 18-17 by the Reds in Bloemfontein.
Down Under, the defending champions, the Waratahs, and the Chiefs recorded impressive victories in Wellington and Christchurch, respectively.
Force 6 (6) DHL Stormers 13 (10)
It took some serious grind and wasn’t flashy, but the DHL Stormers won’t sweat the small stuff as they finished their Australasian tour with a second win when they beat the Force by 13-6 in Perth on Saturday afternoon.
The Capetonians had to dig deep defensively late in the match as the Force launched numerous attacks which could’ve seen them draw the game, but the DHL Stormers held on with the home team actually crossing the try-line without dotting down as the final whistle went.
The visitors got the only try of the match as they were awarded a penalty try for crushing the Force’s scrum under the uprights early in the match. Thereafter the kickers dominated proceedings in a match that won’t be remembered for too long.
The DHL Stormers showed a lot of character in this victory which means they will return to Cape Town with a haul of 10 log points from their four matches abroad, their best since 2012 when they won three encounters on the other side of the Indian Ocean. Last year the Capetonians lost all four tour matches and in 2013 they won only once.
Force: Penalty goals: Luke Burton (2).
DHL Stormers: Try: Penalty try. Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis. Penalty goals: Catrakilis, Kurt Coleman.
Cell C Sharks 10 (3) Vodacom Bulls 17 (8)
The Vodacom Bulls were too strong for the Cell C Sharks moved and into the second position on the log after winning a bruising South African derby at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday afternoon by 17-10.
The highlight of the first half was a superb try by Bulls wing Francois Hougaard, who rounded off after a sniping blindside break by scrumhalf Rudy Paige. The interplay by the two men from Pretoria was good as Hougaard rounded off in the corner shortly before the break.
At that stage the scores were tied at 3-3 after Fred Zeilinga and Handré Pollard traded earlier penalty goals, but the Springbok flyhalf missed the conversion.
The Sharks hit back immediately after the break and took a 10-8 lead when Zeilinga converted Springbok flank Marcell Coetzee’s try in the 42nd minute, but that was the last points scored by the home team.
Pollard added three more penalty goals to his tally as the visitors took control of the match to record their second win over the Cell C Sharks in 2015.
Cell C Sharks: Try: Marcell Coetzee. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalty goal: Zeilinga.
Vodacom Bulls: Try: Francois Hougaard. Penalty goals: Handré Pollard (4).
Toyota Cheetahs 17 (10) Reds 18 (3)
A late drop-goal by the Reds, coupled with a missed penalty goal by the Toyota Cheetahs late in the match, saw the side from Queensland record only their second ever win in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening.
Nick Frisby’s drop-goal in the 73rd minute was the final points after an impressive second half by the Reds where they scored both their tries.
Sadly for the home team, Joe Pietersen hit the upright with a penalty attempt in the 79th minute. It would be unfair to blame the Toyota Cheetahs’ pivot for the defeat though as the team from Central South Africa failed to build on a very good first-half performance after the break.
Ryno Benjamin scored a wonderful try in the opening 40 minutes after the Cheetahs capitalised on the Reds’ inability to control the ball after a partially charged down kick, while Boom Prinsloo went over in the second half after a strong rolling maul.
It was the Cheetahs’ sixth defeat of the season and they remain in 12 position on the log and injuries to a number of key players will make it hurt even more.
Toyota Cheetahs: Tries: Ryno Benjamin, Boom Prinsloo. Conversions: Joe Pietersen (2). Penalty goal: Pietersen.
Reds: Tries: Adam Korczyk, Samu Kerevi. Conversion: James O’Connor. Penalty goal: O’Connor. Drop-goal: Nick Frisby.
Other results – Round Ten:
Crusaders 9 Chiefs 26
Hurricanes 24 Waratahs 29
Highlanders 30 Blues 24
Brumbies 8 Rebels 13