Vodacom URC: Coastal sides off to a winning start in 2022

The Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers kick-started 2022 in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship on a victorious note on Saturday as they secured valuable away victories against the Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls respectively.

The Cell C Sharks registered a 47-37 win against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg, outscoring the hosts by six tries to five, which included a hat-trick by Springbok flyer Makazole Mapimpi, while a try in the closing minutes by DHL Stormers’ replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet sealed a 30-26 victory for the Capetonians against the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria, where flyhalf Manie Libbok’s goal kicking proved to be the difference on the scoreboard.

The Durbanites’ victory marked their third in six matches so far this season, while the DHL Stormers edged through in the dying minutes to earn their second victory, which left these teams as the top placed South African franchises on the overall standings (in 10th and 12th place respectively).

The Cell C Sharks lead the charge in the South African Shield with 14 points from their six games, followed by the DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions, both of whom are on 12 points, with the Capetonians’ points’ difference slightly better. The Vodacom Bulls have seven points.

Mapimpi and Senatla share 12th position on the try scorers’ list with Madosh Tambwe (Vodacom Bulls) and Leolin Zas (DHL Stormers), as well as 15 other players from European teams.

Boeta Chamberlain of the Cell C Sharks is the top-placed South African player on the list for points’ scorers, in joint-fifth position with Stephen Myler (Ospreys) on 51. Libbok is in ninth spot with 36 points.

The local action will continue in the next few weeks as the sides face one another in a further three rounds of derbies. 

Cell C Sharks sneak home in 11-try Vodacom URC thriller 

Springbok wing Makazole Mapimpi scored a hat-trick of tries which helped the Cell C Sharks to a 47-37 win (halftime 27-18) over the Emirates Lions in an entertaining Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash in Johannesburg on Saturday.

A total of 11 tries were scored at Emirates Airline Park – six by the visitors and five by the hosts – as the two South African sides played with a positive mindset and made the most of their attacking opportunities.

In the end, the Cell C Sharks probably used their chances better, and kept themselves on the front foot with a good kicking game. 

Scorers:

Emirates Lions 37 (18) – Tries: Andre Warner, Wandisile Simelane, Ruben Schoeman, Edwill van der Merwe, Morne van den Berg. Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (2), Tiaan Swanepoel. Penalty goals: Zeilinga (2). 

Cell C Sharks 47 (27) – Tries: Aphelele Fassi, Makazole Mapimpi (3), Kerron van Vuuren, Lukhanyo Am. Conversions: Boeta Chamberlain (3), Joaquin Diaz Bonilla. Penalty goals: Chamberlain (2), Diaz Bonilla. 

Late try snatches victory for DHL Stormers at Loftus

A late try by DHL Stormers replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet sealed a 30-26 win and their second Vodacom Rugby Championship victory in a gripping encounter against the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Capetonians got off to a strong start in the first half building up an encouraging 18-7 lead with Blitzbok speedster Seabelo Senatla (wing) touching down twice before the break, but they showed true grit in the second half to hold off a determined Vodacom Bulls outfit, who still held the lead with less than three minutes left to play.

The DHL Stormers’ strong start and refusal to give up at the end, when the momentum clearly swung back to the home side, was the difference between the sides, while the Vodacom Bulls will be left wondering what went wrong in the first 39 minutes, when they failed to trouble the scorers. 

Scorers:

Vodacom Bulls 26 (7) – Tries: Johan Grobbelaar, Madosh Tambwe, Embrose Papier, Elrigh Louw. Conversions: Chris Smith, Morne Steyn (2). 

DHL Stormers 30 (18) – Tries: Seabelo Senatla (2), Herschel Jantjies, Paul de Wet. Conversions: Manie Libbok (2). Penalty goals: Libbok (2).

Issued by SA Rugby Communications