URC – Super Saturday For SA Teams In Vodacom URC


The South African teams in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship delivered on their desire to return to the field with a bang as all four registered victories on Saturday.

As a result, three of them, the Vodacom Bulls, DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions, are in the top eight on the log after 12 rounds, while the Hollywoodbets Sharks finally rose from the foot of the table.

Making the results even more remarkable was that Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls secured vital away wins in Galway and Newport respectively, which will not only boost their confidence going into their next round on the road against the Ospreys and Leinster but also enhance their playoff ambitions.

The Hollywoodbets Sharks were the first team to give a taste of what the South African sides had in stall by defeating Ulster 22-12 in Durban in what marked only their second victory in the competition. The DHL Stormers then made their presence felt with a 43-21 victory against Edinburgh in Cape Town, which maintained their unbeaten run at home this season.

The Emirates Lions, in turn, outplayed Connacht 38-14 to become the first Vodacom URC team from South Africa to win in Galway, and the Vodacom Bulls made it a full house of victories as they registered a comprehensive 31-10 victory against the Dragons in Newport.

These results ensured that the Vodacom Bulls retained second place on the table (45 pts) behind Leinster (49 pts), with the DHL Stormers in fifth place (35pts) and the Emirates Lions in eighth place (34pts), while the Hollywoodbets Sharks hopped up into 14th place (14pts).

With six rounds of pool matches remaining and only 12 points separating the second-placed Vodacom Bulls and 10th-placed Benetton, the competition looks set for a gripping business end.

Determined Hollywoodbets Sharks bounce back against Ulster

The Hollywoodbets Sharks held their nerve in a competitive Vodacom URC encounter against Ulster in hot and humid conditions in Durban on Saturday to outscore the Irishmen three tries to two for a rewarding 22-12 victory, which allowed them to hop off the foot of the log.

Ulster made an early statement with a try by Harry Sheridan, but the hosts levelled the scores later in the half with a converted try by Phepsi Buthelezi which saw the teams enter the sheds at 7-7.

The hosts kept the scoreboard ticking in the second half as Eduan Keyter scored their second try to add to a penalty goal by Siya Masuku, but Ulster retaliated with their second five-pointer to keep them within striking range of a victory.

Both teams suffered blows in the 64th minute as Ulster’s Iain Henderson and James Hume received yellow cards, as well as the Hollywoodbets Sharks’ Vincent Tshituka, but it was Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi who dealt the killer blow for the home team with 15 minutes to play as he touched down for their third try.

Neither team were able to add to the score as the curtain came down on the match to delight of the KwaZulu-Natalians, who finally broke their losing streak after winning only one match in the competition before this vital result.

Hat-trick and braces as DHL Stormers outplay Edinburgh

A hat-trick by Suleiman Hartzenberg and braces by Leolin Zas and Evan Roos set up the DHL Stormers for a convincing 43-21 bonus-point victory against Edinburgh at the DHL Stadium in an exciting Vodacom URC match on Saturday.

Hartzenberg earned the first points of the match with his first try in the ninth minute and he added his second eight minutes later before Zas crossed the line for his first as the Capetonians delivered a classy performance on attack in the first half.

They were, however, tested by the visitors, who managed to score two converted tries in the half.

The DHL Stormers picked up where they left off when the second half kicked off with Zas and Hartzenberg scoring tries in quick succession – the first of which sealed the bonus point – and they continued to make their presence felt and capitalise on their chances as Roos scored his first try 10 minutes later to inflate their lead.

Edinburgh didn’t give up and they managed to score their third try in the fourth quarter, but the home side ensured that they had the final say with Roos scoring his second try in the final minutes, which saw them walk away with a morale-boosting 43-21 victory.

Emirates Lions outclass Connacht for rewarding away win

The Emirates Lions showed true character to perform despite receiving a red card in the 16th minute of their Vodacom URC encounter against Connacht in Galway as they outscored the hosts six tries to two for a memorable 38-14 victory.

The Johannesburgers showed their determination from the outset and crossed the line as early as the seventh minute thanks to Francke Horne, and they kept going despite conceding a try and a red card to Asenathi Ntlabakanye, to touch down for the second time in the 25th minute. And they held on for the rest of the half to enter the break 12-7 up.

The Gauteng outfit continued to build momentum in the second half and made the most of their opportunities, and the rewards followed as Edwill van der Merwe and Erich Cronje scored before Horne earned his brace with 11 minutes to play.

Morne van den Berg struck again for the visitors in the last minute to take their try tally to six, and they backed this up with a determined defensive effort which saw them limit the hosts to only one second-half try for their efforts.

Vodacom Bulls fight until the end in Newport for a bonus point win

The Vodacom Bulls showed grit until the final whistle, scoring two tries in the last five minutes to snatch a bonus-point 31-10 victory against the Dragons at Rodney Parade after holding a 10-3 lead at the break of their Vodacom URC clash.

The teams took a few minutes to suss out one another before the Vodacom Bulls opened the scoring with a penalty goal, which the hosts cancelled out minutes later before the visitors took full advantage of a yellow card to the home side, which saw Springbok Kurt-Lee Arendse score the first try of the match in the 27th minute.

The Pretoria outfit added their second try four minutes into the second half compliments of Celimpilo Gumede and they showed guts on attack, which could have seen them secure a bigger win had it not been for unforced errors.

Despite this, they kept their foot on the pedal throughout the match and this paid off with Embrose Papier scoring their third try five minutes from time, although they leaked one three minutes later.

The Dragons received their second yellow card in the dying seconds, and this set the perfect scene for Johan Grobbelaar to cross the chalk for the commanding win and valuable bonus point.