The Vodacom Bulls defeated the DHL Stormers 17-13 in a typical, tense South African derby at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening to keep their unbeaten home record in this year’s campaign intact. They also halted a run of four Vodacom Super Rugby losses in a row against their Cape Town rivals.
The two teams were locked at 6-6 at halftime and after the DHL Stormers have managed to close the gap in the second half to just 14-13, an excellent a drop goal by replacement flyhalf Tian Schoeman eventually clinched the match for the Pretoria-side.
As a result of their hard-fought win, the Vodacom Bulls have moved into top place on the African Conference 1 ladder. Although they have the same amount as points as the DHL Stormers, namely 32 points, the Pretoria franchise grabbed first position because they have won one more match.
Africa Conference 2 leaders, the Emirates Lions, consolidated their top-spot by scoring another impressive 52-24 win over the Jaguares in their early Saturday afternoon fixture in Johannesburg.
Meanwhile in Durban, the Cell C Sharks continued with their improved form of late by overpowering the Southern Kings 53-0. The Kings defended much better in the second half and they only conceded two more tries following the home side’s scoring spree of 43 points in the opening stanza.
The team from Durban moved to within two points of Africa 2 conference leaders, the Emirates Lions, who have collected 37 points from 11 matches. The Cell C Sharks (35) have played one more game than the team from the Highveld.
Elsewhere, the Crusaders defeated the Waratahs 29-10 in their Friday fixture in Christchurch. In Brisbane, the Reds fought off a late rally by the Sunwolves to emerge as 35-25 winners. The Chiefs were too strong for the Rebels and they won their home fixture 36-15 in Hamilton, while in Perth the visiting Blues edged the Western Force 17-13 in a tight affair.
The Toyota Cheetahs, along with the Brumbies, the Highlanders and the Hurricanes were not in action last weekend.