The Emirates Lions made a splendid return to form on Saturday evening in Johannesburg when they defeated the Brumbies 42-24, with Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies victorious in his landmark 100th appearance for the Highvelders.
In the only other Vodacom Super Rugby match played in South Africa this weekend, the Cell C Sharks managed to beat the visiting Chiefs 28-24 in an exciting encounter in Durban while in Saturday’s late night action in Buenos Aires the Vodacom Bulls lost 54-24 to the in-form Jaguares.
The resurgent Sunwolves stunned the DHL Stormers 26-23 in their Saturday morning clash played in soaring heat in Hong Kong, with the winning points coming from a dramatic last-gasp drop goal.
Following the weekend’s action, the Emirates Lions increased their SA Conference tally to 36 points. The Jaguares claimed sole second spot as a result of their fifth win in a row. The Argentina franchise have 29 points, but they have played one match fewer than the Highvelders’ 13 games. The Cell C Sharks is currently sitting third on 28 points and are followed by the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers (24).
Brief match summaries
Franco Mostert’s Highvelders led 21-17 at half-time and they eventually scored six tries in total, with centurion Jantjies landing all the conversions, while the visiting Brumbies replied with three tries. The timely bonus point-win enabled them to extend their lead atop of the SA Conference table.
Meanwhile in Durban, the Cell C Sharks registered an important home win against the visiting Chiefs. The Kiwi side scored the last try of the match to gain a valuable bonus point after the two teams were level at 10-10. Flyhalf Robert du Preez scored 17 points for the coastal side who play the Jaguares next in Buenos Aires.
Sunwolves pivot Hayden Parker kicked a dramatic injury-time drop goal to hand the Japanese outfit a historic first win over the DHL Stormers amid scorching playing conditions in Hong Kong, where the players took a mid-half break as a result of the heat.
The Cape visitors had their noses in front 17-10 at the interval following three tries through Dillyn Leyds (2) and JJ Engelbrecht. However, the Japanese outfit outscored them 16-6 in the second half to clinch another landmark win on the back of last week’s big triumph over the Reds. Robbie Fleck’s side play the Emirates Lions at home in Newlands next weekend.