Kings and Cheetahs strike in time added on
April 8, 2013
Friday, April 5
The Blues inflicted further misery on the struggling Highlanders (video available only in Australia)%]
Blues scrum-half Piri Weepu scored two late tries in a 29-18 win over the Highlanders at Eden Park that consigned the southern side to a sixth consecutive loss this Super Rugby season.
The Highlanders led 13-12 at half-time, but they fell away late to gift the Blues a third win that ended their own slump of three successive defeats.
Weepu was at the heart of victory, outplaying error-prone counterpart and fellow All Blacks half-back Aaron Smith in a game in which countless handling errors mirrored the recent fortunes of both teams.
The Blues scored four tries to two to improve their home record against the Highlanders to nine wins from 11 meetings.
The Southern Kings stunned the Brumbies after the final whistle (video available only in Australia)%]
Southern Kings No. 8 Cornell du Preez scored a converted try after the siren to claim a 28-all draw against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
The Brumbies were outscored in the tries department by a South African side for the second consecutive week, and the visitors will walk away from the game with a sense of victory after claiming a four-try bonus point as the hosts blew an early 13-point lead.
The Brumbies seemed to have the game wrapped up when they were awarded a penalty after the siren, but the TMO ruled that home prop Ben Alexander had shoulder-charged Steven Sykes and the visitors earned another bite at the cherry. They didn't falter, with du Preez scoring his second try of the match near the posts.
The Brumbies missed the composure of rested five-eighth Matt Toomua, with the backline not looking as crisp as it had in recent weeks.
The Sharks had suffered six consecutive losses to the Crusaders (video available only in Australia)%]
Springboks star Patrick Lambie ensured the Sharks ended their losing streak against the Crusaders with a 21-17 Super Rugby win in Durban. Lambie landed seven penalty goals as the Sharks, who had lost their previous six games against the Crusaders, overcame an 11-9 half-time deficit to record the fifth win of their 2013 campaign.
The depleted Crusaders scored the only try of the match in the first half, when recalled scrum-half Andy Ellis finishing off a Robbie Fruean break to put the visitors ahead, but they failed to take full advantage of their dominance in the opening 40 minutes.
They were made to pay in the second half as five-eighth Lambie slotted four penalty goals, the last with five minutes to go. His Crusaders counterpart, Tyler Bleyendaal, missed two kickable penalties in the final 10 minutes.
Saturday, April 6
The Hurricanes capitalised on New South Wales mistakes (video available only in Australia)%]
The Hurricanes overcame the game-day withdrawal of key forwards Ben Franks and Victor Vito, landing three hammer blows in 10 minutes early in the second half to bring to a shuddering halt any sense of momentum in New South Wales Waratahs' ranks after two consecutive wins.
The hosts punished fully mistakes by the Waratahs, with damaging and ever-threatening winger Julian Savea scoring the first of two tries, in the first half, after errors by Adam Ashley-Cooper and Drew Mitchell, and Reg Goodes, the replacement for Franks, capitalising after the Hurricanes had effected a midfield turnover. Goodes' try also featured a magician's sleight of hand from Conrad Smith in putting the loose-head prop into space.
Goodes was followed over the line by hooker Motu Matu'u before Savea claimed his second of the game when he beat three cover defenders to a bouncing ball and sprinted clear under the posts.
Melbourne Rebels showed great character in Perth (video available only in Australia)%]
Melbourne Rebels regained a measure of lost pride after their horror tour of South Africa, defeating Western Force to claim their third away win over the Perth-based team, New Zealand Under-20 winger Jason Woodward the star turn on the scoreboard with two tries and one pulled back for a forward pass.
The Rebels have never defeated anyone other than the Force away from home, but they were rarely threatened after jumping out to a 15-point lead in the first half. The visitors returned to Australia off the back of five consecutive defeats and troubled by recent off-field disciplinary problems, but they proved too strong for hosts forced to play catch-up rugby for much of the contest and left to rue three unsuccessful kicks from Sias Ebersohn and Kyle Godwin.
The Cheetahs are on a roll after winning their fifth straight match (Video available in Australia only)%]
Cheetahs fly-half Burton Francis showed nerves of steel to land a sideline penalty in the 82nd minute and give his team a 26-24 win over the Stormers in their Super Rugby fixture on Saturday.
Francis, who had played for the Bulls, the Lions and the Stormers before moving to Bloemfontein, was gifted the opportunity when replacement Stormers centre Damian De Allende was penalised controversially for not releasing a player at the ruck. Referee Stuart Berry's ruling was inconsistent with the way the breakdown had been officiated, in a game in which the official had made several controversial calls. Berry allowed a try that shouldn't have been, and he made a number of controversial calls - mostly against the home side - that resulted in points.
Francis thought he had blown his opportunity to be the hero when he missed with a drop goal from close range three minutes from full-time, but the Cheetahs pack produced a monster scrum after the siren to win the ball and set up the multi-phase play that led to the crucial penalty, and the victory.
Byes: Bulls, Chiefs, Queensland Reds
© AAP with Sportal
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Top 14, Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership with fireworks and monsters both featuring
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
It is 100 years this week since the last international match played in Europe before the outbreak of World War One. Rewind remembers the fixture's longest-living survivor
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14