Stormers beat Bulls in final replay as Sharks rage past Lions

The Stormers ran in four tries against the Bulls’ two as they cruised to a 37-27 win in a replay of the United Rugby Championship final last season, while the Sharks beat the Lions 37-10 in the another South African derby. Credit: Alamy

The Stormers ran in four tries against the Bulls’ two as they cruised to a 37-27 win in a replay of last season’s United Rugby Championship final.

While last season’s final saw just three tries scored, the clash in Cape Town produced a much more open game in South Africa’s biggest local rivalry.

Scores were tied at half-time after a pair of penalties from fly-half Manie Libbok for the Stormers and a penalty try, while flanker Nizaam Carr scored a try for the Bulls, Johan Goosen adding the conversion and two penalties.

Hooker Joseph Dweba, center Suleiman Hartzenberg and winger Leolin Zas all scored second-half tries for the defending champions, with Libbok adding three conversions and a penalty.

Flanker Marco van Staden and substitute hooker Bismarck du Plessis scored for the Bulls, with Goosen and Chris Smit each adding a conversion.

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The Bulls’ discipline cost them in the early stages of the game, with two soft penalties giving the hosts a 6-0 lead. Flanker Van Staden was then shown a yellow card for a high tackle in the 12th minute, and the Stormers looked to take advantage as Dayimani was about to score a try, only to be disallowed.

While the Bulls managed to keep Stormers beleaguered as van Staden was off the field, once he returned their discipline did not improve as Elrigh Louw brought down a driving maul and was judged for stopping a possible try. For his actions, he received a yellow card and the hosts got a penalty try.

Just two minutes later the Bulls fought back after Harold Vorster broke on a great line and from there Goosen produced a precise cross kick which Carr got in the end to score.

Despite losing a man for half of the first 40 minutes, the Bulls managed to enter the interval after Goosen netted a penalty just ahead. A late flurry of penalties gave the Stormers one last sniff at points before the break, but the Bulls held on and claimed a lineout steal to enter the break on 13 points apiece.

Libbok squandered an early second-half chance to extend the Stormers lead from the tee, but his failure meant little as the hosts capitalized on a stellar 15-minute stretch of dominance, running in three tries for extend their lead to 34-13.

Dweba crashed from close range after another superb attacking phase, and just two minutes later Hartzenberg completed one of the season’s tries.

Dayimani and Ben-Jason Dixon teamed up in the Stormers 22 before Libbok and Damian Willemse combined to feed the ball to Angelo Davids and finally an inside ball to Hartzenberg, who put the finishing touches to a magnificent scoreline.

Libbok tore through the Bulls defense for third down before throwing a long pass to Leolin Zas. The winger received the ball flat-footed but brilliantly beat four defenders and fended off a fifth to score another outstanding effort in the 54th minute.

The Bulls fought back and Van Staden rumbled down the line from close range after a period of sustained pressure inside the Stormers’ 22 to set up a tense final quarter as the Bulls trailed 34-20.

A successful penalty pushed the Cape Town side into a 17-point lead and stymied any chance of a late Bulls comeback. The visitors pulled off a consolation try as a brilliant Chris Smith penalty gave them a lineout 5m from the try line. From there, the peloton headed into the whitewash, with Du Plessis pointing down.

The Bulls tried to run it from deep to grab a losing bonus point, but the Stormers held on to seal the win.

Makazole Mapimpi scores brace in Sharks win

The Sharks put on a show for the 26,000 fans crammed into Kings Park Stadium on Friday afternoon, scoring five tries to defeat the Lions 37-10.

Winger Makazole Mapimpi and full-back Boeta Chamberlain scored tries in the first 15 minutes, with Curwin Bosch converting the first, before the Lions fought back with Edwill van der Merwe’s try, converted by Jordan Hendrikse , to lead 12-7 at halftime.

Bosch and Hendrikse converted penalties in the second half before tries from scrum-half Grant Williams, flanker Siya Kolisi and a second from Mapimpi saw the hosts secure victory in bonus points, Bosch adding a conversion and Lionel Cronje a penalty and a conversion.

The Sharks took an early lead after dominating the early stages of the game. A cut ball from Bosch to Rohan Janse van Rensburg saw the cross grazed both Lions defenders with his offload, giving Mapimpi a clear run to the corner for the first down. Bosch added the extras to give the home side a 7-0 lead after 10 minutes.

It took just five minutes for the Sharks to add to their lead; Full-back Chamberlain completed the scoring after some deft hands from Lukhanyo Am, who was making his first start since returning from injury, and Bosch five yards from the try line.

Van der Merwe then received a try from the restart as Sharks flanker Jeandre Labuschagne dropped the ball, the Lions winger leaping to run in an easy try.

It would be the last change to the score in the first half, as the hosts led 12-10 at half time.

The start of the second half was much tighter as Bosch and Hendrikse traded penalties from the start, with the Lions fly-half missing a second attempt in the 52nd minute.

Lions full-back Andries Coetzee was kicked in by Chamberlain, and Janse van Rensburg was the quickest to react as he collected the ball and offloaded it at Grant Williams. He sped into space and blasted past the covering defense to score his team’s third try, extending the Sharks’ margin to 12 points.

Cronje came off the bench to score a long-range penalty with his first action of the game. Shortly after, the Sharks appeared to have scored their bonus point try through Kerron van Vuuren only for him to be knocked out due to a long arm transfer during the maul set up.

It didn’t take long for them to lock in the bonus point as Kolisi charged down the line on the wing after a smooth attacking move from the hosts. Jaden Hendrikse attempted a drop goal attempt on the conversion, which he missed, as the Sharks opened up a 20-point lead.

Mapimpi pounced on a loose ball and showed off his footballing skills to run in his second brace in as many games at Kings Park Stadium. His try was converted by Cronje in what would be the final change to the scoreboard.

Jaden Hendrikse was given a caution for slapping the ball off the hands of the Lions scrum-half but the visitors failed to capitalize as the Durban side ran out of easy winners.

South African sides are back in action once again before the end of the year, with the Sharks hosting the Bulls on New Year’s Eve while the Lions head to Cape Town.

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