Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier URC SA

Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier in action. Image: EPCR

Bulls Sharks fly SA flag in Europe; Stormers, Cheetahs, Lions knocked out

The Bulls and Sharks provided a ray of light in an indifferent weekend for South Africa’s five teams in the European playoffs.

Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier URC SA

Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier in action. Image: EPCR

The Bulls and Sharks provided a ray of light in an indifferent weekend for South Africa’s five teams in the Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup playoffs, as they recorded invaluable victories to advance to the quarter-finals next week.

The other three South African sides, meanwhile, were knocked out of their respective competitions.

CHAMPIONS CUP: BULLS WIN, STORMERS OUSTED

The Bulls, who thumped Lyon 59-19 in Pretoria, will face the Northhampton Saints in England next Saturday in their top eight fixture in the Champions Cup.

The fans at Loftus Versfeld were treated to 12 tries, nine of them to the hosts as they eased their way through to the quarter-final stage.

The Bulls now have the daunting task of facing Leinster at the Aviva Stadium for a spot in the semi-finals.

The Stormers suffered a heart-wrenching last minute 22-21 defeat against defending champions Stade Rochelais (La Rochelle) in Cape Town in the Champions Cup,

La Rochelle, the two-time defending champions, fought back from 13-0 down at half-time to defeat Stormers in an extraordinary match, which could have easily been turned on its head had Manie Libbok succeeded with a last-grasp conversion.

Unfortunately, his attempt sailed wide of the target and the Stormers were eliminated from the premier European competition.

CHALLENGE CUP: SHARKS FIND THEIR BITE

The Sharks, who registered a resounding 47-3 win against Zebre Parma in Durban, will meet Edinburgh in Durban in their Challenge Cup quarter-final.

First-half tries from Vincent Tshituka, Werner Kok and Corne Rahl – all converted by Siya Masuku – sent them in 18 points ahead at the break.

Aphelele Fassi got the flow of points started again in the second half, with efforts from Phepsi Buthelezi and Ethan Hooker plus two more conversions from Masuku adding to the scoreline.

Curwin Bosch finished things off in the 74th minute, crossing and then converting his own try.

Three-time Challenge Cup ASM winners Clermont Auvergne held off an admirable Cheetahs fightback in the Round of 16 to earn a 27-22 victory at the Stade Marcel-Michelin on Saturday. 

And lastly, the Lions slumped to a disappointing 27-17 defeat against Benetton in Italy despite the hosts receiving a red card early in the second half.

THE EUROPEAN PLAYOFFS BROUGHT MIXED RESULTS FOR SA TEAMS

Sharks Vincent Tshituka in action
The Sharks were rampant in their Challenge Cup round of 16 clash. Image: EPCR.