The Vodacom Bulls, who thumped Lyon 59-19 in Pretoria, will face the Northhampton Saints in England next Saturday in their top eight fixture in the Investec Champions Cup, while the Hollywoodbets Sharks, who registered a resounding 47-3 win against Zebre Parma in Durban, will meet Edinburgh in Durban in their EPCR Challenge Cup quarter-final.

The other three South African sides, meanwhile, were knocked out of their respective competitions.

The DHL Stormers suffered a heart-wrenching last minute 22-21 defeat against defending champions Stade Rochelais in Cape Town in the Investec Champions Cup, while the Toyota Cheetahs went down 27-22 against Clermont Auvergne in France and the Emirates Lions suffered a disappointing 27-17 defeat against Benetton in Italy despite the hosts receiving a red card early in the second half.

The other quarter-finals in the Investec Champions Cup are: Union Bordeaux-Begles v Harlequins; Leinster v Stade Rochelais; and Toulouse v Exeter Chiefs.

In the EPCR Challenge Cup, the other top eight fixtures are: Clermont-Auvergne v Ulster; Gloucester v Ospreys; and Benetton v Connacht.


Vodacom Bulls annihilate Lyon to book quarter-final spot

The Vodacom Bulls blew Lyon off the park at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday to advance to the quarter-final of the Investec Champions Cup for the first time, outscoring the visitors nine tries to three – which included a penalty try – for an emphatic 59-19 victory, with Sebastian de Klerk and Embrose Papier each scoring braces.

The Pretoria outfit created and used their opportunities at will, while they denied the visitors from creating much momentum, and this paid off with four tries in the first half – three of which were scored in the opening quarter – and five in the second half.

With the hosts’ defence holding strong, they leaked only one try in the first half, and then conceded a penalty try shortly after the break with Canan Moodie paying the price for a high tackle, while Lyon added one more in the 55th minute.

With the visitors’ defence letting them down and the Vodacom Bulls proving unstoppable on attack, with Kurt-Lee Arendse especially dangerous, the French team were forced to settle for scraps for most of the match.


Vodacom Bulls 59 (28) – Tries: Sebastian de Klerk (2), Embrose Papier (2), Marcell Coetzee, Ruan Vermaak, Willie le Roux, David Kriel, Chris Smith. Conversions: Johan Goosen (5), Smith (2).

Lyon 19 (7) – Tries: Martin Page-Relo, Penalty try, Thaakir Abrahams. Conversion: Paddy Jackson.


Heartbreak for DHL Stormers in Cape Town

It was a case of pure heartbreak for the DHL Stormers as they crashed out of the Investec Champions Cup in dramatic fashion in very windy conditions in Cape Town on Saturday, going down 22-21 against defending champions Stade Rochelais, with a missed conversion on the stroke of fulltime denying them a win.

That, however, was only one defining moment that could have swayed the result, as the Capetonians came close to the tryline on a few occasions where they were shut out, while they were also disallowed a try. Injuries did not help their cause as they lost Deon Fourie, Salmaan Moerat, Hacjivah Dayimani and Ben-Jason Dixon, which forced a late reshuffle to their pack of forwards.

The hosts were enthusiastic on attack from the outset, and they capitalised on their key point-scoring chances in the first half, with Springbok Manie Libbok kicking two penalty goals to add to a great try by Herschel Jantjies, while Stade Rochelais – who lost Will Skelton to a yellow card for 10 minutes – struggled to make their presence felt. This saw the hosts enter the break with an encouraging 13-0 lead.

The French team’s fortunes turned in the second half as the injuries took their toll while Marcel Theunissen received a yellow card, which allowed the visitors back into the game. They scored three tries and a penalty goal by the 68th minute, while the DHL Stormers’ only points in that time were another penalty goal by Libbok.

In a crucial moment for the Capetonians, their former team-mate Dillyn Leyds received a yellow card in the 75th minute and the hosts capitalised on it with a last-minute try by Suleiman Hartzenberg to trail 22-21. Unfortunately, the conversion attempt went wayward in the howling wind, which saw the DHL Stormers exit the competition.


DHL Stormers 21 (13) – Tries: Herschel Jantjies, Suleiman Hartzenberg. Conversion: Manie Libbok. Penalty goals: Libbok (3).

Stade Rochelais 22 (0) – Tries: Louis Perverne, Gregory Alldritt, Joel Sclave. Conversions: Antoine Hastoy (2). Penalty goal: Hastoy.


Toyota Cheetahs fall short against Clermont Auvergne

The Toyota Cheetahs fell short against Clermont Auvergne in their EPCR Challenge Cup encounter at Stade Marcel-Michelin despite staging a strong second-half comeback, with the Free Staters going down 27-22 in the end.

It was a game of two halves with Clermont dominating the first half completely as they scored three tries and kicked a penalty goal, while they limited the visitors to a single penalty goal for their efforts, which saw the hosts enter the break 22-3 up.

They added their fourth try 13 minutes into the second half to increase their lead to 27-3, but the Toyota Cheetahs fought back with intent with a try by Siba Qoma in the 62nd minute before they added two more – by Qoma and Tapiwa Mafura – while the hosts were down to 14 men after receiving a yellow card.

This placed the visitors within striking range of a late victory, but unfortunately for the Toyota Cheetahs, Clermont held on in the dying minutes to secure the five-point victory to advance to the quarter-final.


Clermont Auvergne 27 (22) – Tries: Joris Jurand, Bautista Delguy, Etienne Fourcade, Baptiste Jauneau. Conversions: Anthony Belleau (2). Penalty goal: Belleau.

Toyota Cheetahs 22 (3) – Tries: Siba Qoma (2), Tapiwa Mafura. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (2). Penalty goal: Pienaar.


Emirates Lions drop out after frustrating performance against Benetton

The Emirates Lions dropped out of the EPCR Challenge Cup competition with a frustrating performance against Benetton where they went down 27-17 despite the hosts losing a player to a red card in the 44th minute and a subsequent yellow card in the 67th minute.

The Johannesburgers made a strong statement early on with a converted try in the second minute, but the hosts cancelled this out with two tries as the half progressed to add to a stunning long-range drop goal by Rhyno Smith.

Jordan Hendrikse narrowed their deficit with a penalty goal shortly before halftime to trail 17-10, and they looked set to turn things around when Giacomo Nicotera received a red card early in the second half.

Instead, both teams scored tries, with Benetton adding penalty goal before they were dealt yet another blow with Malakai Fekitoa receiving a yellow card in the 67th minute. But despite a two-man numerical advantage the Emirates Lions were unable to add to their score, which dashed their hopes of advancing to the quarter-final.


Benetton 27 (17) – Tries: Thomas Gallo, Onisi Ratave, Bautista Bernasconi. Conversions: Jacob Umaga (3). Penalty goal: Umaga. Drop goal: Rhyno Smith.

Emirates Lions 17 (10) – Tries: Jaco Visagie, Jordan Hendrikse. Conversions: Hendrikse (2). Penalty goal: Hendrikse.


Hollywoodbets Sharks outclass Zebre to book quarter-final spot

The Hollywoodbets Sharks outclassed Zebre Parma 47-3 thanks to a dominant performance in their EPCR Challenge Cup encounter in Durban on Sunday, outscoring the visitors seven tries to none for the comprehensive victory.

The KwaZulu-Natalians were effective on attack in the first half and used the opportunities that presented themselves, with Vincent Tshituka, Werner Kok and Corne Rahl scoring ties in the first stanza.

They backed this up with a solid defensive effort to shut out Zebre Parma despite their concerted efforts to get close to the tryline and limited them to a single penalty goal for their attempts in the half.

The Hollywoodbets Sharks continued to stamp their authority in the second half, creating opportunities and capitalising on them, which saw them add another four tries to their tally compliments of Aphelele Fassi, Phepsi Buthelezi, Ethan Hooker and Curwin Bosch, while they denied the visitors from adding to their score. This steered them to a rewarding 47-3 victory and a valuable home quarter-final.


Hollywoodbets Sharks 47 (21) – Tries: Vincent Tshituka, Werner Kok, Corne Rahl, Aphelele Fassi, Phepsi Buthelezi, Ethan Hooker, Curwin Bosch. Conversions: Siya Masuku (5), Bosch.

Zebre Parma 3 (3) – Penalty Goal: Tiff Eden.