We take a look back at a weekend that saw the Blitzboks claim gold in Dubai, a full house of URC wins for SA’s franchises and Gallagher Premiership and Top 14 action continue.
Sevens World Series: Blitzboks make it four Dubai titles on the bounce
The Springboks Sevens rebounded from defeat to Great Britain in their tournament opener to go on and win the Dubai leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series on Sunday. Sandile Ncobo’s side had disappointingly bowed out of the opening Hong Kong leg of the series in the fifth-placed semi-final last month, but the young side rallied hard to triumph on the weekend and occupy joint-first on the overall standings alongside Australia.
The tournament win was South Africa’s 10th in Dubai and fourth in succession. It also marked their seventh win from the previous nine tournaments there. Coming up against Ireland in the final, the Blitzboks were far too good and eased to a 21-5 victory with the Cape Town leg kicking off on Friday.
URC R8: Perfect record for SA teams
All four of SA’s franchises claimed victories over Welsh opposition in a weekend that also saw Leinster claim a hugely significant win over Ulster as the URC reached its halfway point. An encouraging performance from Curwin Bosch at No 10 guided the Sharks to a 25-10 win over Ospreys at Hollywoodbets Kings Park. The Durbanites were under enormous pressure following the ejection of head coach Sean Everitt after their 35-0 drubbing at the hands of Cardiff, but the men in black and white overcame some hesitancy to eventually claim a good win.
A Manie Libbok-inspired Stormers outfit beat Dragons 34-26 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with the 25-year-old Springbok scoring 17 points. While the Capetonians were disappointed at shipping 14-points in the final 10-minutes, the bonus-point win has seen them climb to third, level on 34-points with the second-placed Bulls.
Jake White’s men bagged an impressive 45-9 victory over Cardiff in Pretoria with Springbok trio Johan Goosen, Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse particularly impressive, while the Lions (fifth) saw off Scarlets 32-15 in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Elsewhere, 14-man Leinster came back from 19 points down to earn a remarkable 38-29 win over Ulster at the RDS for a ninth win from nine this season. Dan McFarland’s men have now dropped two places to occupy fourth, with Leinster now 10-points clear at the summit.
In other results from the weekend, hosts Edinburgh went down 17-38 to Munster for a second loss in succession, Glasgow beat Zebre 45-17 at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi and Connacht comfortably saw off Benetton 38-19 in Galway.
Prem R12: Wins for Quins, Irish and Gloucester
Harlequins (third) bagged a 19-13 win over Bath (eighth) at the Rec to close the gap on second-placed Sale Sharks to just two points. The result will tee Quins up nicely for their trip to Durban, with the opening round of Champions Cup action kicking off this weekend.
In other results, London Irish saw off Newcastle 39-17 at the Gtech Community Stadium, Gloucester (fourth) beat Northampton 34-19 and the Bears and Tigers drew 26-all at Ashton Gate.
First-placed Saracens and second-placed Sale Sharks both sat out the weekend’s action.
Top 14 R12: Midtable congestion continues in France
Just seven points separate 12th-placed Pau from third-placed Stade Francais in a characteristically tight Top 14 playoff race after 12 rounds this season.
Clermont beat defending champs Montpellier 19-14 at the Stade Marcel Michelin, hosts Bordeaux saw off Pau 33-13, Bayonne claimed a 19-7 win over Lyon at the Stade Jean-Dauger, table-toppers Toulouse won 34-13 at the Stade Ernest-Wallon, European champions La Rochelle (fourth) fell 27-14 at Stade, Castres held off 26-22 at the Stade Pierre Fabre and second-placed Racing 92 beat Toulon 31-14 at the Stade Mayol.
Check out some of the weekend’s best moments.
Shilton shines for Blitzboks
Shilton van Wyk scored this well-taken effort in the Blitzboks’ final win over Ireland in Dubai.
Libbok scores wonder try
Manie Libbok was in fine form for the Stormers on the weekend, finishing off this absolute worldie. He would end the match with a personal tally of 17-points.
Goose on the loose
Johan Goosen looks to be getting back to his best after a long injury layoff. Not a bad effort here.
Maul tries don’t get much better than this by Clermont Auvergne, finished off by No 8 Loic Godener. What a beaut.
Seven of the best
Take a squiz at seven of the weekend’s best moments from Dubai.