The losing bonus point secured by the Vodacom Bulls did push them to the top of the South African Conference standings though, as they moved past the Cell C Sharks, who lost heavily to the Crusaders in Durban.
Both sides have 19 log points, but things are tight in the conference, with both the DHL Stormers, who were edged out by the Hurricanes in Wellington, and the Emirates Lions on 17 points. The Toyota Cheetahs, who lost to the Brumbies in Canberra, prop up the local conference with nine league points.
There was plenty of drama in Durban on Saturday, where a plethora of cards almost made a mockery of the fifteens code. The Crusaders at one stage had three players in the bin with yellow cards, before Jean Deysel was shown a red for using his knee on an opponent’s head.
This was the second-biggest defeat suffered by the Cell C Sharks in the competition, as this 42 point deficit is one less than the 43 points difference they suffered against the Crusaders in 2005, when the home side won 77-34 in Christchurch.
The Toyota Cheetahs found little comfort in Canberra, a venue they have never won at and where South African teams have won only five from 45 encounters since 1996.
Two early tries in the beginning of each half helped the Brumbies to beat the Cheetahs, who failed to cross their opponents’ tryline, with a lone Joe Pietersen penalty the only reward to the central franchise team.
On Friday the DHL Stormers found the home side too slick in the first half and could not overhaul the 25-3 deficit in the second 40 minutes of play. The Cape side dropped to a fifth consecutive defeat to a New Zealand opponent, the first time they have lost five in a row in New Zealand since 1998.