The Vodacom Bulls climbed into first place on the standings while the Lions tasted victory for the first time this season in round 4 of the Vodacom URC.
On Friday, the Bulls started like a house on fire against Cardiff in the Welsh capital, and were then made to work hard defensively to hold on for an 18-12 victory, before the Lions delivered a late blow to overhaul Scarlets on Saturday and win 24-23.
Wilco Louw was prominent as the Bulls defended their line with gusto, the tighthead prop playing the full 80 minutes at the Arms Park to scoop the Man of the Match award.
So, too, did Lions playmaker Sanele Nohamba, who controlled the game for The Pride at Parc y Scarlets and converted all three of their tries and added a penalty for a nine-point haul. His quick thinking also led to the touchdown for hooker PJ Botha.
While SA’s two Highveld teams won in Wales, the DHL Stormers and Sharks found the going tough in Italy.
The Stormers went down to Benetton – the only unbeaten team left in the competition – 20-17 in Treviso, while the Sharks are still winless after losing 12-10 at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi as Zebre Parma recorded their first URC win in 18 months.
After four rounds, the Bulls top the standings with 15 points (the same as Leinster and Glasgow Warriors), the Stormers dropped to ninth on 11 points, the Lions moved up two spots to 12th with eight points, and the Sharks are still in last position with one point.
Round 5 kicks off on Friday night, with the Bulls and Lions both in action, against Edinburgh and Ulster, in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively. Less than 24 hours later, the Sharks host Connacht at Kings Park, before the Stormers tackle Munster, the defending champions, in Limerick in a repeat of last season’s Grand Final.
Round 4 results:
Cardiff 12-18 Bulls
Zebre Parma 12-10 Sharks
Benetton 20-17 Stormers
Scarlets 23-24 Lions
Ulster 21-14 Munster
Ospreys 23-31 Glasgow Warriors
Edinburgh 25-22 Connacht
Dragons 10-33 Leinster
Round 5 fixtures:
Edinburgh vs Bulls (9:35pm)
Ulster vs Lions (9:35pm)
Zebre vs Cardiff (9:35pm)
Sharks vs Connacht (5pm)
Dragons vs Ospreys (7:15pm)
Munster vs Stormers (7:15pm)
Glasgow Warriors vs Benetton (9:35pm)
Leinster vs Scarlets (9:35pm)