Vodacom #URC: Humbling weekend for SA teams
The slow start for the South African teams in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship continued in round two of the competition with all four sides suffering defeats, albeit in totally different circumstances. One common denominator was the leaky defence from the South African sides as all four conceded more than 30 points to their opponents.
The DHL Stormers held a 15-0 lead at Thormond Park in Limerick after half an hour on Saturday, but had no reply once Munster switched gears and raced away to a 34-18 win.
Earlier on Saturday, the Cell C Sharks also conceded more than 30 points when they faced Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium, but did rally late in their 35-24 defeat.
On Friday, the Vodacom Bulls fell away in the second half of their match against Connacht at The Sportsground in Galway, conceding five tries after scoring in the opening minutes, losing 34-7.
The Emirates Lions, who opened their campaign with a win last week, could not repeat their performance and lost to the Scarlets, who outplayed them to the tune of 36-13.
Two Irish teams, Munster and Ulster, are top of the log after scoring full points in their opening two wins, while Leinster could join them at the top if they overcame the Dragons and earned a four-try bonus point in the Sunday match. The Emirates Lions are the best placed South African side in 11th place, followed by the DHL Stormers (13th), with the Cell C Sharks (15th) and Vodacom Bulls (16th) propping up the log as the only teams yet to score a log point.
The Sharks will be looking for that first win next Friday, when they travel to the Liberty Stadium to meet the Ospreys in a first meeting with a Welsh opponent. The Lions will take on their first Scottish opponent in Glasgow when they travel to Scotstoun Stadium, while the Stormers and Bulls will leave Ireland to take on Edinburgh and Cardiff respectively.
Click on the headings for full match reports.
The DHL Stormers started their match in Limerick like a house on fire, scoring two well-worked tries and a penalty to race to a 15-0 lead after 30 minutes. The stunned Thormond Park crowd then saw a complete reversal of emotions as the red jerseys started a dramatic fight back, eventually scoring a bonus point try win over the Capetonians, who hardly fired a shot in the second half.
Munster 34 (7) - Tries: Jack O'Donoghue (2), Jean Kleyn, Niall Scannell, RG Snyman. Conversions: Joey Carbery (3). Penalty goal. Ben Healy.
Stormers 18 (15) - Tries - Warrick Gelant, Leolin Zas. Conversion: Manie Libbok. Penalty goals: Gelant, Tim Swiel
The Cell C Sharks shook off a disastrous first half but had left themselves too much to do as they slipped to a 35-24 (halftime 28-10) defeat on the Glasgow Warriors’ artificial surface on Saturday.
They conceded five tries in the first 45 minutes to trail by 25 points but then finally caught the speed of the game to dominate the remainder and have Glasgow the more eager to hear the final whistle.
Glasgow Warriors 35 (28) – Tries: Ross Thompson, Ryan Wilson, Jamie Bhatti, Cole Forbes (2). Conversions: Thompson (5).
Cell C Sharks 24 (10) – Tries: Le Roux Roets, Thomas du Toit, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2), Ruan Pienaar. Penalty goal: Bosch.
Staunch Scarlets defence and smooth attack ruled the day against the Emirates Lions, who saw their effort ultimately counted for nothing in a 36-13 (halftime 20-6) defeat in South Wales on Friday night.
The Lions had fought back gamely in the second half to trail by only seven points on the hour, but two late tries and two penalties saw the score blow out as the Scarlets’ greater cohesion on both attack and defence told in the long run. The home team claimed the bonus point with a fourth try from the final movement of the match.
Scarlets 36 (20) – Tries: Rob Evans, Tom Rogers (2), Steff Evans. Conversions: Sam Costelow (2). Penalty goals: Costelow (4)
Emirates Lions 13 (6) – Try: Ruben Schoeman. Conversion: Jordan Hendrikse. Penalty goals: Hendrikse (2).
The Vodacom Bulls stormed into an early lead at The Sportsground in Galway with a fantastic team try finished off by prop Lizo Gqoboka but then slowly and alarmingly fell off the pace against Connacht. The Irish side kept plugging away in the first half and held a narrow 10-7 lead at the break, but once they returned in the second half, totally outplayed the Pretoria side to score four tries to nil, the last of those in the last minute of play.
Connacht 34 (10) - Tries: Tiernan O'Halloran, Tom Daly (2), Mack Hansen, Tom Farrell. Conversions: Jack Carty (3). Penalty Goal: Carty
Vodacom Bulls 7 (7) - Try: Lizo Gqoboka. Conversion: Johan Goosen.