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Bulls bounce back

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The match was a typical, hard-fought and fast-paced derby and the Pretoria outfit did just enough in the end to secure a victory and record a double this season over their coastal rivals.

CRESTFALLEN: Thomas du Toit of the Cell C Sharks looks on as Lodewyk de Jager of the Vodacom Bulls scores his try during their match at Loftus Versveld on Saturday.

The Vodacom Bulls bounced back to winning ways when they emerged as 39-33 winners over the Cell C Sharks in their action-packed Super Rugby derby match on Saturday evening in Pretoria.

The Bulls were also 22-17 in front at half-time.

John Mitchell’s side scored five tries to three to gain their fifth victory of the season, while the successful last-minute penalty by visiting flyhalf Robert du Preez earned the Durban team a valuable league point.

The match was a typical, hard-fought and fast-paced derby and the Pretoria outfit did just enough in the end to secure a victory and record a double this season over their coastal rivals.

Meanwhile, in the mid-afternoon fixture played in Cape Town, the DHL Stormers suffered their first home defeat of the campaign by losing 15-9 to the visiting Chiefs, who led 5-3 at the break.

Midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown scored the Chiefs’ only try in the first half to celebrate his 50th Super Rugby appearance to hand his side the half-time advantage, while the Kiwi team also gained a crucial penalty try midway through the second half to seal the result.

The first match of the day featuring a South African side saw the Emirates Lions succumb 39-27 to the Highlanders in their fourth and last tour match that was played in Dunedin. The visiting Highvelders were 19-14 behind at the end of the first half.

The team from Johannesburg finished the opening half strongly as they scored two tries to bring them within four points of the Highlanders. Both teams played enterprising rugby but it was the Highlanders who finished sturdily for a good win after their return from SA.

The weekend produced several upset results elsewhere, with the Sunwolves claiming their first victory of the season in Tokyo on Saturday morning. They outplayed the Reds to triumph 63-28, with Hayden Parker scoring 38 points for a new individual points tally while the result was also the Sunwolves’ biggest ever winning margin of the competition.

In Christchurch, the Waratahs quickly raced into an impressive 29-0 lead against the Crusaders. However, the home side then produced a memorable comeback to pip the team from Sydney by 31-29.

Elsewhere, in the Australian Conference, the Brumbies gave up a comfortable 21-5 lead to lose by 27-24 to the Rebels at home in Canberra.

The Lions are still leading the South African Conference despite their setback in Dunedin and they now return home on 31 points from 12 games.

The Bulls and the Sharks both leap-frogged the Jaguares (on bye) to second and third place respectively on the table.

The teams from Pretoria, Durban and Buenos Aires are all level on 24 points with only points difference separating the three sides.

ANA