Lions upset Bulls, Cheslin’s Toulouse crowned European champs and NZ maintain SR Trans-Tasman dominance.
Lions claim first win, Stormers pip Sharks
The Lions upset the Bulls 34-33 at Emirates Airline Park in Saturday’s trans-Jukskei derby to gain their first win of the Rainbow Cup SA season. The men from Pretoria had won each of their previous three matches in the competition and headed into the fourth round following a 43-9 thumping of the Sharks but were undone by Fred Zeilinga’s late converted try. Jake White’s men are still favourites to top the overall standings however and currently sit four points clear at the summit on 15. The Lions are fourth on eight points.
Meanwhile, the Sharks fell 22-25 to the Stormers at Jonsson Kings Park earlier in the day in a result that now sees the Capetonians sitting in second on the log, albeit on points-difference. The Sharks’ game was marred by a disappointing showing at the breakdown, with a lack of organisation and urgency proving their undoing. They will face a massive test against the Lions in the fifth round.
Toulouse claim fifth Heineken Cup crown
Toulouse saw off 14-man La Rochelle 22-17 in the Champions Cup final at Twickenham to earn a record fifth European title. The match was closely contested but Levani Botia’s red card for a dangerous hit in the first half proved to be the deciding factor in the end as Cheslin Kolbe’s side managed to grind out the W and a first Heineken Cup since 2010.
There will still be time for Ronan O’Gara’s men to get something out of their campaign, however, with Les Corsaires sitting second on the Top 14 standings, trailing Toulouse by just a single point with the regular season winding down.
New Zealand franchises make it 10-0
For the second successive weekend, New Zealand’s Super Rugby sides achieved a clean sweep of their Australian counterparts in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman. Friday saw wins for the Hurricanes over the Rebels (35-13) and Highlanders over the Force (25-15), while Saturday’s results included a 48-21 win for the Blues against the Waratahs, a 40-19 Chiefs win versus the Brumbies and a remarkable 63-18 blowout for the Crusaders over the Reds in Brisbane.
The Reds’ result was definitely the biggest news, with the Super Rugby AU champions being totally trounced by the Aotearoa winners — helped in large part thanks to a Richie Mo’unga hat-trick.