Stormers take the honours

2012-03-26 00:00

THE Bulls flourished, the Stormers went to the top of the log, the Lions and Cheetahs fought bravely while the Sharks again disappointed in an eventful weekend of Super Rugby action.

The Bulls, at their bristling best in the second half, ran in eight tries in a rousing 61-8 win over the cham­pions, the Queensland Reds, at Loftus.

The Reds, hit by injury, suffered consecutive losses on their South Africa trip following their Durban defeat to the Sharks a week earlier.

Fullback Zane Kirchner crossed in the first half and the Bulls added another seven tries in the second in a dominant performance at Loftus Versfeld, while Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn added 19 points in a faultless goalkicking display.

But the Bulls were overtaken at the top of the South African log two hours later when the Stormers were given a fright, but held their nerve to beat the depleted but willing Lions 24-19 at Ellis Park.

Most observers thought the Stormers would cruise to a comfortable win over the injury-hit Lions, but it needed a couple of late penalties by Joe Pietersen to carry them to victory.

The Stormers started off strongly as hooker Tiaan Liebenberg and wing Bryan Habana, the only South African player to score 50 Super Rugby tries, crossed and they were 18 points ahead after 26 minutes.

But the Lions responded positively as scrumhalf Tian Meyer scored a try and Butch James kept kicking penalty goals, and they narrowed the gap to two points in the second half.

But two Pietersen penalties took the Stormers eight clear in the closing minutes before Andries Coetzee kicked a drop goal in the final movement to at least secure the Lions a deserved bonus point (24-19).

The Cheetahs came agonisingly close to scoring a major upset when they chased the fancied Crusaders all the way before losing 28-21 in Christchurch.

The Crusaders led 11-3 at the break, but the Cheetahs refused to lie down and the scores were locked at 21-21 with five minutes remaining.

But with Dan Carter back at flyhalf and pulling the strings, All Black Israel Dagg scored the winning try to seal the home team’s win.

The Cheetahs’ flyhalf, Johan Goosen, and centre Robert Ebersohn scored tries. Goosen added a further conversion and three penalties for a personal haul of 16 points.

The Sharks, sloppy and defensively vulnerable, had only themselves to blame for their 34-30 loss to the Waratahs in Sydney.

The Sharks, slick on attack, appeared to have this game under control in the second half, but they were slow to come up in defence and a couple of late tries cost them what would have been a valuable away win.

The Sharks had scored two impressive first half tries by Lwazi Mvovo, fashioned by Meyer Bosman, and Keegan Daniel off a lineout drive.

And when hooker Bismarck du Plessis swatted off defenders to score in the second half for a 24-13 lead, the Sharks appeared to be marching to victory.

But a series of defensive errors, sitting back in defence and Tim Whitehead’s attempt to run the ball out from his own line, cost them two late tries and the match.

The Brumbies, who face the Sharks in Canberra on Saturday, ended the Highlanders’ perfect start to the season with an upset 33-26 victory on their home turf.

Wing Joe Tomane bagged two tries in the first 15 minutes and flank Michael Hooper chipped in with an opportunist effort after the break, while flyhalf Christian Lealiifano kicked a perfect seven from seven with the boot.

It was a third win in four matches for the Brumbies this season under new South African coach Jake White after they won four in total over their last campaign.

“We back ourselves and I think you can see from the way we play that we trust each other,” a delighted Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said.

Saturday’s scorers (home team first)

Waratahs 34 — Tries: Brendan McKibbin, Bernard Foley, Tom Carter, Tom Kingston. Conversions: McKibbin (3), Berrick Barnes. Penalties: McKibbin (2). Sharks 30 — Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Keegan Daniel, Bismarck du Plessis. Conversions: Pat Lambie (3), Penalties: Lambie (3)

Bulls 61 — Tries: Zane Kirchner, Wynand Olivier, Flip van der Merwe, Jacques Potgieter, Jano Vermaak, CJ Stander, JJ Engelbrecht, Bjorn Basson. Conversions: Morne Steyn (5), Louis Fouche. Penalties: Steyn (3). Reds 8 — Try: Don Shipperley, Penalty: Jonathan Lance.


Lions 19 - Try: Tian Meyer. Conversion: Butch James, Penalties: James (3), Drop: Andries Coetzee. Stormers 24 — Tries: Tiaan Liebenberg, Bryan Habana, Conversion: Joe Pietersen. Penalties: Pietersen (4).


Crusaders 28 — Tries: Sean Maitland, Robbie Fruean, Israel Dagg. Conversions: Tom Taylor (2). Penalties: Taylor (3). Cheetahs 21 — Tries: Johan Goosen, Robert Ebersohn. Conversions - Goosen. Penalties: Goosen (3)


Brumbies 33 — Tries: Joe Tomane (2), Michael Hooper. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (3). Penalties: Lealiifano (4). Highlanders 26 — Tries: Aaron Smith, Shaun Treeby. Conversions: Colin Slade (2), Penalties: Slade (2), Chris Noakes. Drop: Slade

Played Friday:

Rebels 30 Force 29; Blues 25 Hurricanes 26.

Bye: Chiefs.

This weekend’s fixtures (SA times, home team first):

Friday: 8.35 am Highlanders vs Rebels

Saturday: 6.30 am Hurricanes vs Cheetahs

8.35 am Chiefs vs Waratahs

10.40 am Brumbies vs Sharks

12.40 pm Force vs Reds

5.05 pm Lions vs Crusaders

7.10 pm Stormers vs Bulls



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