SA URC teams continue to flex early-season muscles

SA’s United Rugby Championship teams had another good weekend as the Lions, Sharks, Stormers and Bulls claimed victories over their European opposition.
Defending champions the Stormers kicked off their United Rugby Championship (URC) campaign with a comfortable 38-15 victory over Connacht at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Saturday afternoon.
A tightly fought first half between the two sides was followed by a free-flowing second half for the home side after Connacht were restricted to 14 men following centre Bundee Aki’s red card.
Evan Roos opened the scoring with a brilliant individual try, breaking the line from just inside Connacht’s half and bumping winger Mack Hansen out of the way en route to the tryline.
The rest of the first half was tightly contested, finishing 13-8 in favour of the hosts.
However, it was all one-way traffic in the second stanza after Aki’s red card for a dangerous cleanout on Stormers winger Seabelo Senatla in the 62nd minute.
From there, the Stormers began to show some of the attacking spark from their title-winning season. A spree of wonderful interplay and offloading by the home side resulted in a try for hooker Andre-Hugo Venter, bringing the Danie Craven stadium to its feet.
Hacjivah Dayimani then finished another brilliantly executed team try by the Stormers to stretch the score out to 31-8.
Shortly afterwards, prop Jack Aungier scored a late consolation try for Connacht from close out. However, the home side had the final say when Marcel Theunissen went over after a well-worked Stormers rolling maul to secure a valuable bonus point win.
The Stormers will take on Edinburgh at Cape Town Stadium next week.
Bulls scrape home
In trademark fashion, veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn slotted a late penalty to help the Bulls secure a 33-31 victory over Scottish outfit Edinburgh at Loftus.
The experienced flyhalf came off the bench and slotted the winning penalty. Edinburgh fullback Henry Immelman had the opportunity to snatch the game from the Bulls with an extra-time penalty, but failed to take the chance.
It was a close encounter from the get-go with Edinburgh hitting back at everything the home side threw at them.
Hooker Johan Grobbelaar and No 8 Elrigh Louw crossed the white chalk first for the hosts, but Edinburgh struck back with two tries of their own through Charlie Savala and Darcy Graham. The Bulls went into the break with a narrow 15-14 lead.
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The Bulls were outscored three ...