Mixed fortunes in rescheduled URC clashes
The Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks enjoyed some mixed fortunes in their rescheduled sixth round Vodacom United Rugby Championship fixtures on Saturday, with the Johannesburg side ending a five-match losing run against Glasgow Warriors, while the Durbanites suffered a disappointing defeat against Ulster.
These results saw the Emirates Lions leap from 14th to 12th place on the log – six points behind eighth-placed Connacht – to ensure they remain in the hunt to secure a playoff spot, while the Cell C Sharks remained in seventh place – five points above Connacht and 14 behind the second placed DHL Stormers – with four rounds of pool matches to play.
The Emirates Lions had a strong start against Glasgow at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg and built up a 27-14 lead at the break, which laid the foundation for their 35-24 victory, while Ulster’s better goal kicking saw them snatch a 31-24 victory against the Cell C Sharks at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in Durban.
The regular round-robin matches will continue next weekend where the scramble for playoff places is expected to be furious, with two local derbies on the menu in South Africa on Saturday as the Cell C Sharks travel to Cape Town to take on the DHL Stormers, and the Vodacom Bulls host the Emirates Lions in Pretoria.
Gutsy Emirates Lions down Glasgow for morale-boosting win
The Emirates Lions delivered a gutsy performance to turn a 27-14 halftime lead into a well-deserved 35-42 win in their Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash against the Glasgow Warriors in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Despite a difficult week, the hosts outscored their Scottish visitors by five tries to four, but their ill-discipline could have been costly.
Edwill van der Merwe and Quan Horn both received yellow cards before Ruan Dreyer was shown red with 14 minutes left in the clash, but they managed to keep Glasgow out, with a penalty goal by Gianni Lombard pushing his side into an 11-point lead which they held until the end.
Emirates Lions 35 (27) – Tries: Sanele Nohamba, Francke Horn, Manuel Rass, Edwill van der Merwe, Ruan Venter. Conversions: Gianni Lombard (2). Penalty goals: Lombard (2).
Glasgow Warriors 24 (14) – Tries: Elias Caven, Cole Forbes, Tom Jordan, Tom Gordon. Conversions: Jordan (2).
Ulster shut out Cell C Sharks in thrilling battle
Ulster shut out the Cell C Sharks in a gripping Vodacom United Rugby Championship fixture at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in Durban on Saturday, with the visitors earning a handy 31-24 victory to keep them in third place on the log as the competition nears the closing stages.
The first half was a tight contest as both teams found their rhythm and did their best to strike whenever the opportunity arose, and this saw each side score two tries apiece, although a penalty goal and extra conversion saw Ulster take an encouraging 17-12 halftime lead.
The second half was a tight tussle with both sides throwing everything at one another to secure their bonus points, but Ulster’s superior goal kicking saw them snatch the victory despite both sides scoring four tries in the match.
The hosts bagged two bonus points, but it wasn’t enough to overhaul the Vodacom Bulls in sixth place on the log.
Cell C Sharks 24 (12) – Tries: Grant Williams, Thaakir Abrahams, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Boeta Chamberlain. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2).
Ulster 31 (17) – Tries: Tom Steward (2), Stewart Moore, Harry Sheridan. Conversions: John Cooney (4). Penalty goal: Cooney.