The Emirates Lions outplayed the Hollywoodbets Sharks 40-10 in Johannesburg in the first South African derby, while the Vodacom Bulls finally swayed their fortunes against the DHL Stormers as they defeated the Capetonians 40-22 in Pretoria for their first win between the sides in eight matches, which set a new record for the biggest attendance in South Africa for a Vodacom URC league match (50,026).

These results saw the Vodacom Bulls leap to second place on the log (on 40 points) behind Leinster (who are on 44 points) and the Emirates Lions wrap off the round in 11th position (29 points) – trailing the eighth-placed Benetton by only three points.

The DHL Stormers, meanwhile, dropped to ninth place on the standings on 30 points, while the Hollywoodbets Sharks remain at the foot of the log with only one win in 11 matches.

To compound matters for the Capetonians, they relinquished their spot at the top of the SA Shield standings to the Vodacom Bulls, who are now three points ahead in the race to the local silverware.


Emirates Lions outplay Hollywoodbets Sharks in Johannesburg

The Emirates Lions showed their strong will to lunge from the bottom section of the Vodacom URC log into contention for a quarter-final spot in the second half of the tournament as they outplayed the Hollywoodbets Sharks 40-10 at Emirates Airline Park. It was their first victory in three matches.

Such was the effectiveness of the Johannesburgers’ attack, they crossed the tryline six times while their tenacious defence limited to the Hollywoodbets Sharks to only one converted try and a penalty goal despite a committed effort by the visitors to attack strongly at key times.

Siya Masuku put the first points on the board for the KwaZulu-Natalians three minutes into the match with a penalty goal, but this was short lived as the Emirates Lions strung together a brave attacking display which saw Sanele Nohamba, JC Pretorius and Quan Horn score tries to hand them an encouraging 19-3 lead.

The Hollywoodbets Sharks, however, fought back with a try later in the half Eduard Keyter and the successful conversion made it a nine-point game (19-10) in favour of the Emirates Lions at halftime.

Inclement weather saw the restart delayed, and when play finally resumed, the Durbanites were dealt a blow in the third quarter as Bongi Mbonambi received a yellow card, and soon after the floodgates opened for the Emirates Lions with the team adding three more tries in 11 minutes.

Conraad van Vuuren kick-started the three-try romp in the 64th minute, and Erich Cronje and Hanru Sirgel followed suit, while their defence held strong to deny the KwaZulu-Natalians from adding to their score for the morale boosting 40-22 victory.


Emirates Lions 40 (19) – Tries: Sanele Nohamba, JC Pretorius, Quan Horn, Conraad van Vuuren, Erich Cronje, Hanru Sirgel. Conversions: Jordan Hendrikse (5).

Hollywoodbets Sharks 10 (10) – Try: Eduard Keyter. Conversion: Siya Masuku. Penalty goal: Masuku.


Strong second half sets up big Vodacom Bulls win over the DHL Stormers

The Vodacom Bulls were in the right frame of mind from the outset against the DHL Stormers in front of a packed Lotus Versfeld on Saturday, with the team getting off to a strong start before surviving a DHL Stormers comeback and then breaking away in an impressive second half for their 40-22 Vodacom URC victory.

The win not only saw the team jump into second place on the log, it also brought an abrupt halt to their losing run against the Capetonians which saw them suffer defeats in the last seven matches between the sides. The victory also maintained their flawless run at home this season.

The Pretoria side came out guns blazing with Johan Grobbelaar scoring their first try in the second minute. The Vodacom Bulls took advantage of the visitors’ ill-discipline with Johan Goosen adding three penalty goals to inflate their lead.

Ben Loader earned the first points for the visitors in the 16th minute thanks to fantastic teamwork and inter-passing, and they added their second try seven minutes from halftime compliments of Evan Roos from a rolling maul while the Vodacom Bulls were down a man after Stedman Gans was sent to the sinbin for a deliberate knock-down.

Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok flyhalf Manie Libbok reduced the Cape side’s deficit to 19-15 going into the break thanks to a handy penalty goal.

The DHL Stormers showed good attacking prowess early in the second half but struggled to convert their chances into points and a yellow card – this time to Warrick Gelant for a dangerous tackle – didn’t help their cause.

The Vodacom Bulls scored two tries in seven minutes compliments of Grobbelaar – who earned his brace – and Springbok speedster Canan Moodie, which nudged their score to 33 points.

The DHL Stormers refused to give up and earned their third try as Andre-Hugo Venter crashed over from a rolling maul in the 62nd minute, and although they created further chances subsequently, they could not round off.

The Vodacom Bulls, in turn, made the most of their opportunities and it was Embrose Papier who touched down in the dying minutes for the last time in a fitting end to a rewarding performance for 40-22 victory.


Vodacom Bulls 40 (19) – Tries: Johan Grobbelaar (2), Canan Moodie, Embrose Papier. Conversions: Johan Goosen (4). Penalty goals: Goosen (4).

DHL Stormers 22 (15) – Tries: Ben Loader, Evan Roos, Andre-Hugo Venter. Conversions: Manie Libbok (2). Penalty goal: Libbok.