United Rugby Championship: Sharks win ill-tempered clash against Bulls while Stormers beat Lions
Both teams had a player sent off as the Sharks sealed a 29-22 bonus-point win over the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Bulls lost veteran ex-Springbok fly-half Morne Steyn as early as the 11th minute for a high tackle on Lukhanyo Am before Grant Williams was red carded on the hour-mark for his part in a clash of heads that ended the replacement pivot Chris Smith’s involvement.
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Henco Venter and Bongi Mbonambi scored tries for the Sharks before Am gathered his own grubber kick to score one of the tries of the season.
Am’s five-pointer came immediately following a Cornal Hendricks score that had threatened to pull the Bulls back into the contest before half-time.
Marcell Coetzee scored early in the second half with the Sharks themselves down to 14 men thanks to Venter’s yellow card but Makazole Mapimpi then secured the Sharks’ bonus point before Williams was sent off.
The Bulls battled to the end and touched down twice in the last 10 minutes to secure a pair of bonus points, with Simphiwe Matanzima and Madosh Tambwe both going over.
The result moves the Sharks three points clear of the Bulls and remain within two of South African Shield leaders the Stormers.
Stormers cruise past Lions in Johannesburg
The Stormers consolidated their position at the top of the United Rugby Championship’s South African Shield with a 32-10 bonus-point triumph over the Lions.
The men from the Cape were two points clear of the Sharks and the Bulls before kick-off and ensured they remained at the top of the standings thanks to their victory in Johannesburg.
Former Lions back-row Hacjivah Dayimani crossed to give the Stormers a 10-3 lead at half-time before Seabelo Senatla and Sergeal Petersen added a pair of outstanding team tries in the second period and Deon Fourie got their fourth in the game’s closing stages.
Manie Libbok kicked 12 points for the visitors at Emirates Airline Park while the Lions looked like having to settle for a single penalty from the boot of Tiaan Swanepoel until Morne van den Berg produced a late consolation try, converted by the returning Jordan Hendrikse.
The Lions remain rooted to the foot of the South African Shield and two places off the bottom of the overall table.
Both sides travel to Ireland in a fortnight, with the Stormers visiting Connacht and the Lions taking on Leinster in Dublin.
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