South Africa sweep Aussies, Hur­ri­canes stay top of Su­per 15

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY ROBERT SMITH

South African teams re­joiced this week­end with three wins over Aus­tralian op­po­si­tion as New Zealand’s Welling­ton Hur­ri­canes pre­served a six-point lead at the top of Su­per Rugby.

The Hur­ri­canes and Waikato Chiefs had the week­end off with byes as did Australia’s Mel­bourne Rebels with only South Africa’s North­ern Bulls closing some of the gap with a win.

Australia’s top two con­tenders, the ACT Brumbies and de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons New South Wales Waratahs, both went down with the Waratahs to face the Hur­ri­canes in Welling­ton next week­end.

The Bulls over­came t he Queens­land Reds 43-22 in Pre­to­ria to go third in the over­all stand­ings and com­plete a su­per Satur­day for South African sides against Aus­tralian op­po­nents.

The Bulls’ tri­umph fol­lowed wins for West­ern Storm­ers over the Waratahs in Syd­ney and Cen­tral Chee­tahs over West­ern Force in Perth.

The Brumbies missed their chance to close in on the Hur­ri­canes in a 16-14 loss to the Blues in Auck­land, while the Storm­ers had a strong 32-18 win over the Waratahs.

The im­prov­ing Otago High­landers stunned the Can­ter­bury Cru­saders, com­ing from be­hind to take their New Zealand derby 25-20 in Christchurch to lie fifth over­all.

The Golden Li­ons won again af­ter sur­viv­ing a stop­page-time scare to de­feat Coastal Sharks 23-21 in the all-South African game in Jo­han­nes­burg to stand just one point out­side the top-six play­off spots.

The Chee­tahs snapped their five-match los­ing streak with a 24-15 win over the em­bat­tled Force in Perth.

In wet Auck­land, the Blues snapped a seven-game drought with a late penalty by Ihaia West se­cur­ing a two-point win over the Aus­tralian con­fer­ence lead­ing Brumbies.

The Brumbies had a chance to win the match right on full-time only for Nic White’s long-range penalty ef­fort to fall short.

Victory for the Bulls en­abled them to bounce back af­ter a last­minute Gaut­eng derby de­feat by the Li­ons in Jo­han­nes­burg the pre­vi­ous week.

It was a sixth con­sec­u­tive de­feat for the bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble Reds and a sev­enth in eight games in the south­ern hemi­sphere in­ter­provin­cial cham­pi­onship.

It was the first time the High­landers beat the seven-time cham­pion Cru­saders in Christchurch since 2008 to keep them firmly in fifth place on the lad­der, while the Cru­saders dropped out of the top six.

It also brought the Cru­saders crash­ing down to earth af­ter their com­pre­hen­sive 52-8 win over the Sharks in South Africa last week.

The Cape Town-based Storm­ers claimed their first win in Syd­ney since 2007 as they flus­tered the Waratahs with their straight line de­fense af­ter trail­ing 15-13 at half-time.

The Storm­ers went

into

the match los­ing their pre­vi­ous nine matches out­side South Africa, but they grew in con­fi­dence in a tremen­dous sec­ond-half per­for­mance against the ragged Waratahs, with cen­ter Damian de Al­lende scor­ing a dou­ble.

The Li­ons, af­ter build­ing a nine­point lead early in the sec­ond half, looked set for victory be­fore be­ing rat­tled by a late Sharks come­back.

Sub­sti­tute prop Thomas du Toit barged over for a try two min­utes from time which fly-half Fred Zeilinga con­verted.

And Zeilinga had a chance to snatch victory af­ter the full-time siren only to nar­rowly miss a prodi­gious 57-me­ter penalty at­tempt from close to the touch­line.

The Chee­tahs trailed at half­time in Perth, but scored the last 16

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