A strong second half display by the KwaZulu-Natalians saw them recover from a 16-14 halftime deficit against Edinburgh in Durban to register a 36-30 victory in their EPCR Challenge Cup quarter-final.

This rewarding victory marked the Hollywoodbets Sharks’ fourth win on the trot in Durban, and in the EPCR Challenge Cup. They have now booked a semi-final against French club Clermont Auvergne at the Twickenham Stoop in London on Saturday, 4 May at 13h30 (SA time).

The other semi-final is between Gloucester and Benetton at Kingsholm in Gloucester on the same day, at 16h00 (SA time). The 2024 EPCR Challenge Cup Final will be played on Friday 24 May at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, a day before the Investec Champions Cup Final at the same venue.

The Vodacom Bulls, meanwhile, delivered a competitive first-half display against the Northampton Saints at Cinch Stadium @ Franklin's Gardens in the Investec Champions Cup, but the hosts pulled away in a one-sided second half, which saw the men from Pretoria succumb to a 59-22 defeat, marking the end of their European campaign.


Saints prove too good for Vodacom Bulls

The Vodacom Bulls fell off the pace in the second half of their Investec Champions Cup quarter-final away against English pace-setters Northampton Saints, with the hosts clinching this playoff by 59-22 on Saturday evening.

The visitors came out firing, making a strong statement early on with good intent on attack and charge downs on defence, and they delivered a strong first-half display despite being written off after travelling to the UK without several star players.

The Northampton Saints scored four tries in the first stanza – three of which were scored within nine minutes – which saw them take an encouraging 28-10 lead by the 25th minute, but the Vodacom Bulls showed their fighting spirit with Akker van der Merwe and Sebastian de Klerk touching down in quick succession to add to an earlier try by Cameron Hanekom and penalty goal by Chris Smith, which saw them trail 28-22 at halftime.

Unfortunately for the Vodacom Bulls, the momentum swung heavily in favour of the hosts after the break as they created wave after wave on attack, while the visitors also found themselves down to 14 men after Hanekom received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.

This paved the way for the Saints to score another five tries to take their tally to nine. They also did well to shut out the visitors on defence and denied them from adding to their score, which marked the end of the Vodacom Bulls’ European season.


Northampton Saints 59 (28) – Tries: James Ramm (2), Alex Mitchell (2), Courtney Lawes, Ollie Sleightholme, Alex Coles, Frase Dingwall, Juarno Augustus. Conversions: Fin Smith (7).

Vodacom Bulls 22 (22) – Tries: Cameron Hanekom, Akker van der Merwe, Sebastian de Klerk. Conversions: Chris Smith (2). Penalty goal: Smith.


Hollywoodbets Sharks shine in second half to knock out Edinburgh

A combination of the Hollywoodbets Sharks’ strong forward pack and the play-making abilities of flyhalf Siya Masuku shone out as the Durbanites overcame a competitive first half against Edinburgh – in which they trailed by two points – to build up a 33-16 lead before registering a 36-30 victory at Hollywoodbets Kings Park to book their place in the EPCR Challenge Cup semi-final.

The first half was a hard grind as both teams gave everything and while the KwaZulu-Natalians outscored the visitors two tries to one, the visitors capitalised on their ill-discipline to kick three penalty goals, while their try was also scored while the hosts were down to 14 men after Eben Etzebeth received a yellow card.

Edinburgh’s last penalty goal, on the stroke of halftime, nudged them into a 16-14 lead going into the sheds.

The Hollywoodbets Sharks stepped up their game immensely in the second half and the rewards followed with Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi adding their third try, while Masuku added four penalty goals to put them firmly in control with a 33-16 lead.

Edinburgh refused to give up and managed to score two tries in the dying minutes, while Hollywoodbets Sharks’ replacement flyhalf Curwin Bosch added yet another penalty goal in his 100th game for the franchise, but this comeback was too little too late for the visitors.


Hollywoodbets Sharks 36 (14) Tries: Lukhanyo Am, James Venter, Bongi Mbonambi. Conversions: Siya Masuku (3). Penalty goals: Masuku (4), Curwin Bosch.

Edinburgh 30 (16) – Tries: Pierre Schoeman, Hamish Watson, Dave Cherry. Conversions: Ben Healy (3). Penalty goals: Healy (3).