The DHL Stormers were victorious in their first Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked outing when they defeated the Emirates Lions 23-17 at DHL Newlands on Saturday evening. The Cape side had a bye in the first round.
In the earlier match on Saturday afternoon played in Kimberley, the visiting Phakisa Pumas fought their way to a deserved 27-21 win over the Tafel Lager Griquas.
The Toyota Cheetahs managed to hold on for a tight 19-17 in over the Vodacom Bulls on Friday evening in Bloemfontein, while the Cell C Sharks had a rest weekend.
As a result of their second successive win the Free Staters are sitting on top of the log with nine points from two wins, followed by the Vodacom Bulls (five points), the DHL Stormers, Cell C Sharks and Phakisa Pumas, all on four points each.
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The DHL Stormers delivered an improved second half performance to grab a 23-17 comeback win over the Emirates Lions at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday evening.
The visitors from Johannesburg made the better start and led 10-6 at halftime, but the home side managed to turn things around in the second half for a deserved but close fought win.
However, Siya Kolisi’s team delivered a much more composed effort in the second half, cutting down on their error rate, which resulted in two tries.
The Capetonians, with no less than seven Springboks in their starting team, gradually gained the ascendency and took their scoring opportunities while keeping the visitors in check with some solid defence.
The Toyota Cheetahs battled their way to a close-fought 19-17 win over the Vodacom Bulls in their clash in Bloemfontein on Friday evening. The home side led 13-3 at halftime and managed to hang on for their second successive win of the competition.
The Vodacom Bulls had a chance to level matters right at the end when Joe van Zyl (replacement hooker) crashed over for their only try from a lineout maul. However, Chris Smith (replacement flyhalf) missed the conversion attempt to allow the Free Staters to grab the winning points for a second week in a row.
The men from Pretoria had a first half to forget with too many errors, while the home team also made life difficult for their visitors with some bone crunching defensive hits.
The visitors finished strongly but the home side managed to hang on for a tight win stay on top the log standings after two rounds.
Phakisa Pumas flyhalf Eddie Fouche delivered a superb individual performance to steer his team to a 27-21 victory over Tafel Lager Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon.
The Mpumalanga side led 17-11 at halftime and faced a strong second-half challenge by the hosts, but a converted try with 10 minutes left to play set them up for the six-point victory and their first win of the new campaign.
Fouche deservedly earned the man of the match award for his influential performance, which included kicking all three conversions and two penalty goals for personal tally of 12 points.
The flyhalf remained composed as he orchestrated several attacking spells for his side throughout the match, while his clever play and timely offload deep in the second half led to the visitors’ crucial third try scored by fullback Devon Williams, which allowed them to finally race clear of the determined home side.
With time running out, captain George Whitehead (flyhalf) slotted over a penalty goal in the dying minutes to earn the Kimberley outfit a bonus point for going down by less than seven points.