Vodafone Super Rugby Wrap: Bulls trample Lions, Stormers down Sharks

Super Rugby
by RUGBY.com.au staff

The Bulls have continued their impressive start to the season with a win in Johannesburg and the Stormers downed the Sharks in a dour game.

The Sunwolves' first ever away win, over the Chiefs, was a round highlight. Here is the wrap of all results.

HURRICANES vs BRUMBIES 


A hat-trick from Hurricanes centre Ngani Laumape has relegated the Brumbies to a 43-13 loss on a night where Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano felt they couldn't ever really get going.

This was far from the near-seamless effort the Brumbies produced in Canberra last week, with turnovers and basic errors opened the door for a ruthless Hurricanes outfit benefitting from the return of playmaker Beauden Barrett on their home turf.

Victories across the ditch are that much harder to come by and the Hurricanes' victory was their 23rd from 24 at home, albeit playing a touch north of their usual Wellington Stadium, 14th of 15 against Australian opposition and the 38th win for a New Zealand team against Aussies in New Zealand in 39 matches.

The Brumbies continued to charge on with their attacking approach but two early turnovers lead directly to tries and they found themselves in a 14-point hole early on.

Trailing 19-8 at the break, the Brumbies still had a sniff but a dominant 24-5 second half from the Hurricanes snuffed out any chances for the visitors.

Read the full match report here.

RESULT

Hurricanes 43

Tries: Laumape 3 Coles 2, Blackwell

Cons: Barrett 4, Garden-Bachop

Pens: Barrett

Brumbies 13

Tries: Faingaa, Wright

Pens: Lealiifano

Yellow card: David Pocock (63’)

REBELS vs HIGHLANDERS


Rebels coach Dave Wessels has praised his team's grit to hold on for their first home win against a New Zealand team in almost four years despite a faltering final quarter that almost cost them the match.

The Rebels survived a late scare from the Highlanders to hold on for a 24-19 win against the Highlanders, their first home win against a New Zealand side since 2015.

Melbourne denied boom Highlanders forward Shannon Frizell a match-levelling try in the dying minutes, the flanker dropping the ball over the line in the 78th minute, with the Rebels hanging on for victory.

After a scorching day where temperatures reached 40C, the Rebels petered out in the final stages of the match.

But it was match smarts, rather than stamina that they lacked, failing to shut the visitors out after an outstanding first 60 minutes in which they weathered the Highlanders' storm before hitting back to dominate.

"To be able to perform at that intensity under those conditions I thought was pretty special," Wessels said.

Read the full match report here.

RESULT

Rebels 24

Tries: English 2,  Maddocks, Meakes

Cons: Cooper 2

Highlanders 19

Tries: Frizell, Tokolahi, Hemopo

Cons: Gatland, Banks

CHIEFS vs SUNWOLVES


The Sunwolves pulled off the biggest upset of their brief Super Rugby life with an historic 30-15 victory over the Waikato Chiefs Saturday as the dominant Canterbury Crusaders continued their relentless unbeaten march.

It is the first time the Tokyo-based unit have won an away game and it left the 2012-2013 champions embarrassed as they remain winless after three rounds. 

A year ago, the Chiefs thrashed the Sunwolves 61-10 as the Japanese side went through their first three seasons of Super Rugby with a woeful record and their future in the competition in doubt. 

But they showed signs of progress when they went within a point of upsetting the NSW Waratahs last weekend, and against the Chiefs they stepped up another gear.

They led 23-3 at half-time and held on as the Chiefs tried to rally.

Sunwolves flyhalf Hayden Parker, who converted all three tries and added three penalties, described the victory as "awesome" and a confidence booster. 

"It was really nice to score some good tries in the first half. The second half was pretty ugly and it felt like the game went on forever but the boys 

hung in and I'm proud of the way we stuck it out to the end," he said.

Chiefs scrum-half Brad Weber said his side could not expect to win making so many errors.

"But you have to take your hat off to the Sunwolves," he said. "Their speed of ball and the way they were able to break tackles was pretty special and we 

have to take a hard look at ourselves because it was pretty embarrassing."

RESULT

Chiefs 15

Tries: Nankivell, Nanai-Seturo

Con: McKenzie

Pen: McKenzie

Sunwolves 30

Tries: Matsuhashi, Helu, van den Heever

Cons: Parker 3

Pens: Parker 3

REDS vs CRUSADERS 

Reds coach Brad Thorn said his side was left to lament time without the ball after simple errors cost any chance of a win against the champion Crusaders.

The Reds lost 22-12 after conceding two tries in the opening 10 minutes and being forced into a backline reshuffle after losing boom colt Jordan Petaia to an ankle injury.

But Queensland showed resolve in refusing to let the margin blow out despite the Crusaders dominating possession and field position for much of the match.

"They jumped out to that lead and that was the second time in a couple of weeks where a lead was put on us and we haven't fallen to pieces," Thorn said.

"It was one-way traffic for a while there and some opportunities started to come our way late in that half and in the second half.

Read the full match report here.

RESULT

Reds 12

Tries: Kerevi, Higginbotham

Cons: Hegarty

Yellow cards: Salakaia-Loto (53')

Crusaders 22

Tries: Ennor, Jordan, Douglas, Taufua

Cons: Mo’unga

STORMERS vsSHARKS

The Stormers edged the Sharks 16-11 in a dour Durban match in which the home team had two players sin-binned and the visitors one.

The Sharks, the only team with a maximum 10 points after two rounds, fell behind after five minutes when full-back Damian Willemse scored an intercept try.

It was a lead the Cape Town outfit never lost and, despite some wayward goal-kicking from usually reliable winger SP Marais, they built a 13-3 half-time advantage.

A try from centre Lukhanyo Am helped the Sharks close the gap to two points, but Marais closed the scoring with his third penalty 14 minutes from time.

Am and hooker Akker van der Merwe were yellow-carded during a constantly-interrupted opening half and Province centre Dan du Plessis got a similar punishment in the second half.

Victorious skipper Siya Kolisi said he was proud at the way Province had fought back after a 40-3 first-round thrashing at the Bulls.

"Nothing was changed after that hiding because that would have signified panic. We trusted our players and tactics," he said.

Sharks skipper and scrum-half Louis Schreuder was furious after seeing good early-season form evaporate.

"How can you expect to win when two of the team are sin-binned and we concede endless penalties?."

RESULT

Sharks 11

Tries: Am

Pens: R. du Preez 2

Yellow cards: Am (22′), Van der Merwe (38′)

Stormers 16

Tries: Willemse

Pens: Marais 3

Cons: Marais

Yellow cards: D. du Plessis (47′)

LIONS vs BULLS


Captain and fly-half Handre Pollard kicked 20 points as the Bulls beat the Lions 30-12 Saturday -- their first Super Rugby victory in Johannesburg since 2012.

Pollard, deputising as skipper for injured lock Lood de Jager, slotted six penalties and a conversion from eight shots at goal.

It took his season tally to 52 points after three rounds, 17 more than second-place Hayden Parker from Japanese outfit the Sunwolves.

Pollard kicked the Bulls into the lead on 14 minutes at Ellis Park, they led 14-0 at the half and sealed victory five minutes from time when full-back Warrick Gelant scored a try.

Victory in Johannesburg lifted the Bulls three places to fourth, three points behind leaders and defending champions the Crusaders from New Zealand.

The Lions, runners-up in the past three Super Rugby finals, slid to 11th after a second successive loss in the southern hemisphere franchise championship.

While Eli Snyman starred as a replacement for De Jager, the Lions struggled without injured captain and No. 8 Warren Whiteley, who was replaced by hooker Malcolm Marx.

"It was a great team effort," said Pollard, the likeliest Springboks playmaker at the 2019 World Cup in Japan this September.

"I did not expect to win by such a wide margin given the Lions' record against us at Ellis Park in recent seasons.

"Everyone contributed and I want to give special praise to Eli. He had big shoes to fill as a replacement for Lood and lasted the full 80 minutes."

RESULT

Lions 12

Tries: Sadie, D. Smith

Con: Jantjies

Bulls 30

Tries: Vermeulen, Gelant

Pen: Pollard 6

Con: Pollard

JAGUARES vs BLUES


Argentina's Jaguares won a post-siren scrum against the head on their five-metre line to edge the Auckland Blues 23-19 Saturday in a Super Rugby round three thriller. 

Trailing by 11 points with seven minutes remaining, the New Zealanders had got back into contention when flanker Dalton Papalii scored a try that fly-half Otere Black converted.

That cut the gap to four points and opened the possibility of a first win this season for the Blues after losses to the Canterbury Crusaders and the Coastal Sharks.

They laid siege and their hopes heightened when the Argentines were penalised resulting in a five-metre scrum with a Blues put-in at a tense Estadio Jose Amalfitani in Buenos Aires.

However, a concerted push by the home side enabled them to secure possession and as the ball was hastily booted into touch, the final whistle sounded.

A dramatic conclusion was fitting as there was nothing to choose between the teams in a contest that could have swung either way on a balmy night in the Argentine capital.

"Congratulations to my team for their outstanding defence throughout the match," said Jaguares skipper and centre Matias Orlando, deputising for injured Jeronimo de la Fuente.

"We came under a lot of pressure at different stages of each half and our refusal to concede was truly inspirational. I believe we deserved the victoryover very good opponents."

RESULT

Jaguares 23

Tries: Moyano 2, Montoya

Cons: Diaz Bonilla

Pens: Diaz Bonilla

Blues 19

Tries: Papalii

Cons: Black 

Pens: Black 4