The Hollywoodbets Sharks kicked off the action on Friday night where they held their nerve in a tight finish against the Scarlets in Llanelli for a bonus-point 32-27 victory, with Werner Kok earning a hat-trick in his 50th game for the franchise, and on Saturday the Vodacom Bulls thumped Ospreys 61-24 in Pretoria and the DHL Stormers outplayed Leinster 42-12 in Cape Town, with both sides earning a full house of points.

The Emirates Lions, meanwhile, suffered a disappointing 33-13 defeat against Munster in Johannesburg, where they battled to keep up from the first half, with the visitors building a 23-6 lead.

These results saw the Vodacom Bulls finish Round 15 in fourth place on the table (51 pts) with two home games and a derby left against the Hollywoodbets Sharks in the closing round; while the DHL Stormers – who have a two-week tour lined up before hosting the Emirates Lions at home in the final pool round – are in fifth position (45 pts).

Lower down on the standings, the Emirates Lions remained in 11th position (39 pts), although they could still finish in the top eight with their three remaining matches in South Africa, while the Hollywoodbets Sharks are in 13th position (23 pts), but with their playoff hopes dashed already, they will be desperate to finish in a higher log position with three home games in hand.


Hollywoodbets Sharks hold on for bonus point win in Llanelli

The Hollywoodbets Sharks made a strong statement of intent with their defence early on against the Scarlets at Parc Y Scarlets in Llanelli, and backed this up with good finishing on attack to take a 17-13 halftime lead, and they built on this with an impressive second half display to register a morale-boosting 32-27 Vodacom URC victory.

The first half was a tight scramble as both teams tried to make their presence felt on attack. The Scarlets earned the first points with a penalty goal, but the KwaZulu-Natalians hit back with Werner Kok’s first try after spreading the ball out wide.

The Scarlets bounced back with their second penalty goal and try within 10 minutes to take a 13-10 lead, but Springbok prop Vincent Koch had the last say of the half as he crashed over the whitewash from good forward pressure and a strong a pick-and-go, which nudged the Hollywoodbets Sharks into a 17-13 lead going into the break.

The Durbanites extended their lead with a penalty goal early in the second half, but the scores were soon tied at 20 apiece as the hosts scored their second try in the 52nd minute. Identical back-to-back tries by Kok within 10 minutes, which were set up by brilliant cross-kicks by Siya Masuku, secured the bonus point and handed the visitors a 32-20 lead with seven minutes left on the clock.

The Scarlets, however, fought hard until the final whistle, and this paid off with their third try with four minutes to play, and they had another chance to try to snatch a victory at the death, but they were shut out by the tenacious defence, and were left to settle for the 32-27 defeat.


Scarlets 27 (13) – Tries: Ryan Elias, Kemsley Mathias, Ioan Nicholas. Conversions: Sam Costelow (3). Penalty goals: Costelow (2).

Hollywoodbets Sharks 32 (17) – Tries: Werner Kok (3), Vincent Koch. Conversions: Siya Masuku (3). Penalty goals: Masuku (2).


Vodacom Bulls outclass Ospreys at Fortress Loftus

The Vodacom Bulls outclassed Ospreys at their fortress Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday, scoring a convincing eight tries to add to a penalty try, while they limited the visitors to three for a comprehensive 61-24 victory, which kept them in the hunt for a possible home Vodacom URC quarter-final and semi-final in the next few months.

Such was the Pretoria side’s dominance they earned their bonus point try in the first half after Johan Grobbelaar, man-of-the-match David Kriel, as well as Springboks Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie crossed the tryline, while they were also denied a possible try after Moodie was ruled to have knocked on the ball in an earlier attempt to score.

With the Vodacom Bulls dominating possession and supporting this with a solid defensive effort, they limited Ospreys to only try and a penalty goal for their efforts in the half – which the hosts led 26-10.

The home side continued to run circles around Ospreys on attack in the second half and this paid off with a further five tries, with Moodie and Arendse touching down again for their braces, while Embrose Papier and Willie le Roux also added their names to the scoresheet, with the other try being a penalty try.

Ospreys, in turn, had to fight hard to score their two tries, and although they had a chance to earn a bonus-point try in the closing minutes, an intercept by Le Roux denied them from adding to their score, which saw them suffer the disappointing 61-24 defeat.


Vodacom Bulls 61 (26) – Tries: Johan Grobbelaar, David Kriel, Kurt-Lee Arendse (2), Canan Moodie (2), Embrose Papier, Penalty Try, Willie le Roux. Conversions: Chris Smith (7).

Ospreys 24 (10) – Tries: Luke Davies, Keiran Williams, Keelan Giles. Conversions: Jack Walsh (2).


Mistakes cost Emirates Lions against in-form Munster

Mistakes at crucial times on attack cost the Emirates Lions dearly as they tried hard to make their presence felt against Munster at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg, but ended up suffering a 33-13 defeat, with the Irish giants walking away with their second Vodacom URC bonus-point win in as many weeks on tour.

Munster dominated possession in the first half and did well to capitalise on their point-scoring chances, which saw them score a try and being awarded a penalty try after Marius Louw received a yellow card for a late tackle, while they limited the Johannesburgers to two penalty goals by Jordan Hendrikse for their efforts. This paved the way for the Irish side to enter the sheds with an encouraging 23-6 lead.

Munster added their third try minutes into the second half while the Emirates Lions were down to 14 men, and the home side responded with intent to score their only try of the match in the 61st minute from a pick and go.

The Emirates Lions, however, will rue missed opportunities after doing well to retain possession and attack more effectively after the break, although mistakes at crucial times throughout the half cost them a few possible chances to score.

Munster did well to absorb the pressure by the hosts, and fought until the end, and the rewards followed as they snatched their bonus-point try on the stroke of fulltime to clinch a well-deserved 33-13 victory.


Emirates Lions 13 (6) – Try: PJ Botha. Conversion: Jordan Hendrikse. Penalty goals: Hendrikse (2).

Munster 33 (13) – Tries: Jack O'Donoghue, Shane Daly, Gavin Coombes, Penalty Try. Conversion: Jack Crowley. Penalty goals: Crowley (3).


DHL Stormers outplay Leinster in front of passionate home crowd

The DHL Stormers delivered a superb performance against Leinster at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town, which was coupled with a disappointing disciplinary effort by the visitors, and this set them up for a 42-12 Vodacom URC victory after scoring five tries to two.

Both teams tried hard to make their presence felt on attack in the first half, but while the DHL Stormers gained momentum and confidence, Leinster conceded one penalty after the other at crucial times, and this saw the Capetonians take control of the first stanza.

Springbok flyhalf Manie Libbok took advantage of Leinster’s ill-discipline as he slotted three penalty goals to add an early try by Ben Loader, while DHL Stormers captain Salmaan Moerat forced his way over the tryline on the stroke of halftime to take their tally to 23 points, while they defended with determination to deny the visitors a single point in the half.

The Capetonians picked up where they left off when play resumed with Herschel Jantjies darting through two defenders to score their third try to increase their lead to 30 points, but Leinster hit back hard with two tries within two minutes while they maintained their pace and determination on attack to close in on the hosts on the scoreboard.

The DHL Stormers were dealt a blow in the 59th minute as Evan Roos received a yellow card after infringing close to the tryline, but the momentum swayed back in the hosts’ favour and Willie Engelbrecht forced his way through for the bonus point try in the 70th minute.

Warrick Gelant ensured that the Cape side finished the match on a rewarding note as he scored their fifth try from a brilliant show and go, which caught the Leinster defence off-guard, and this steered the home side to a convincing 42-12 victory.

DHL Stormers 42 (23) – Tries: Ben Loader, Salmaan Moerat, Herschel Jantjies, Willie Engelbrecht, Warrick Gelant. Conversions: Manie Libbok (4). Penalty goals: Libbok (3).

Leinster 12 (0) – Tries: Max Deegan, Rob Russell. Conversion: Sam Pendergast.