The Emirates Lions clinched the African Conference 2 trophy with a brilliant 94-7 triumph over the Sunwolves in Johannesburg on Saturday night on their return to Vodacom Super Rugby action following the recent international break.
The Highveld side increased their league tally to 61 points, second on the overall points table, to stay within touch of the Crusaders (63).
The home side was superbly led by Springbok flank Jaco Kriel in the injury-absence of regular skipper Warren Whiteley. They scored 14 tries in total, conceded only one and slotted 12 conversions for their biggest win of the season.
Springbok wing Ruan Combrinck scored three tries and also kicked four conversions to demonstrate he is nearing his best form again after a frustrating injury-layoff.
On a profitable weekend for South African teams, the DHL Stormers, Southern Kings and Vodacom Bulls also registered wins.
Substitute loose-forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe scored the winning try to clinch a morale boosting 40-34 win for the DHL Stormers over the Toyota Cheetahs in their entertaining derby played in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon.
Speedy right wing Cheslin Kolbe grabbed a hat-trick of tries and also kicked four conversions after he took over the kicking duties from regular kicker SP Marais, who left the field early in the first half because of injury.
Junior Springbok flyhalf Damian Willemse scored a try on his debut for the Cape team, who were leading 26-17 at halftime. Trailing at 26-10, the Toyota Cheetahs staged a strong fightback to lead 34-33 at one stage.
However, replacement Notshe clinched the tie for the Cape outfit with his winning effort right at the end. The visitors’ Rynhardt Elstadt and home player Henco Venter were both red carded near full-time for an off-the-ball altercation.
The Southern Kings notched up their fifth win of the campaign following their 31-30 win over the Jaguares in an exciting encounter in Buenos Aires during the early hours of Saturday (SA time). Makazole Mapimpi scored twice while Luzuko Vulindlu and Wandile Mjekevu also dotted down. Flyhalf and skipper, Lionel Cronje, added 11 points with the boot.
The Jaguares outscored the Port Elizabeth visitors by 5-4 tries, however, their indifferent goal kicking eventually cost them the match. Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Emiliano Boffelli, Nicolás Sánchez and Joaquín Tuculet (2) all scored tries for the Argentine side.
In the first match of the weekend, fullback Warrick Gelant netted a hat-trick of tries as the Vodacom Bulls posted a convincing 30-17 victory over the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Friday evening. Gelant scored two first-half tries to help steer the visitors to a 17-10 lead at the break.
The Pretoria side, with Springbok centre Jan Serfontein instrumental in midfield, were full of ideas on attack while their forwards also played with gusto to secure their fourth win of the season.
Cell C Sharks 17, Vodacom Bulls 30
Cell C Sharks 17 – Tries: Thomas du Toit, Curwin Bosch; Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2); Penalty: Curwin Bosch.
Vodacom Bulls 30 – Tries: Nic de Jager, Warrick Gelant (3); Conversions: Tian Schoeman (2); Penalties: Tian Schoeman (2).
Jaguares 30, Southern Kings 31
Jaguares 30 – Tries: Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Emiliano Boffelli, Nicolás Sánchez and Joaquín Tuculet (2); Conversion: Sánchez; Penalty: Sánchez
Southern Kings 31 – Tries: Makazole Mapimpi (2), Luzuko Vulindlu, Wandile Mjekevu; Conversions: Cronje (4); Penalty: Cronje.
Toyota Cheetahs 34, DHL Stormers 40
Toyota Cheetahs 34 – Tries: Reniel Hugo, Elandre Huggett, Clinton Swart, Raymond Rhule; Conversion: Niel Marais (4); Penalties: Niel Marais (2).
DHL Stormers 40 – Tries: Cheslin Kolbe (3), Damian Willemse, Seabelo Senatla, Sikhumbuzo Notshe; Conversions: Cheslin Kolbe (4), SP Marais.
Emirates Lions 94, Sunwolves 7
Emirates Lions 94 – Tries: Ruan Combrinck (3), Jaco Kriel (2), Kwagga Smith (2), Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Akker van der Merwe, Courtnall Skosan, Faf de Klerk, Sylvian Mahuza, Ruan Ackermann Conversion: Elton Jantjies (7), Ruan Combrinck (4), Faf de Klerk.
Sunwolves 7 – Try: Uwe Helu. Conversion: Jumpei Ogura.