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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 5 December, 2019

Sharks stunned by last-gasp drop goal and Honey Badger goes to the well

The Western Force winger produced a stirring chase back to prevent a certain Crusaders try.

Cummins makes a gutsy tackle to prevent a try.
Cummins makes a gutsy tackle to prevent a try.
Image: RugbyDump

THE WARATAHS AND Crusaders are poised to take over top spot in Super Rugby after the Sharks’ shock loss this weekend.

The Durban-based outfit went down to the Western Stormers 21-19 at home to reduce their lead in the southern hemisphere provincial series to just two points. Their lead is under siege with the Waratahs and Crusaders having a match in hand when the competition resumes on 27 June following a three-week Test window.

A drop goal by fullback Jaco Taute 20 seconds into stoppage time gave the Stormers an unexpected four competition points in Durban for only the Sharks’ fourth loss of the season.

Michael Cheika’s Waratahs are surging into title contention after their 33-17 victory over defending champions Chiefs for their fourth straight win and their first success in New Zealand since 2010. A late surge by the ‘Tahs, sparked by a captain’s try from Dave Dennis, carried them to victory in New Plymouth.

Ben Tameifuna did leave the game with a small measure of satisfaction as he heaved into Michael Hooper just before  the half-hour mark:

Source: Aotearoa SportsVideos/YouTube

Crusaders rolled Western Force 30-7 aided by two late penalty tries to stay top of the New Zealand conference and third overall.  The seven-time Super Rugby champions froze out their Aussie foes as temperatures dropped to zero at their home ground.

The only highlight of note from Force was a great chase and tackle by Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins to prevent a try:

CUMMINS Source: TheNPC2012

The Brumbies kept in the race for the Australian conference with a lively 37-10 bonus point win over the Melbourne Rebels in Canberra. Inspired by a two-try outing by Matt Toomua, their six-try romp over Melbourne Rebels was a stark contrast to their last home win against the Sharks three weeks ago, with far less kicking and an intent to run the ball.

Only five points now separate the top four teams in Super Rugby heading into the final regular rounds before next month’s top-six playoffs.

Otago Highlanders lost ground but hold fifth overall after going down 38-31 to the Queensland Reds in Brisbane with the winning try coming after the fulltime siren.

The Reds dotted down after the fulltime siren to snatch victory after the Highlanders had levelled the scores with a try by Japanese international Fumiaki Tanaka in the final minute of regular time. But the Reds regrouped to bag the clinching try, sending number eight Jake Schatz over the chalk 18 phases and two and a half minutes after the siren.

The Hurricanes picked up a bonus point in a 37-24 loss to the Blues in Auckland, while the Golden Lions defeated the Northern Bulls for the first time with a 32-21 victory in Johannesburg. The Central Cheetahs had a bye.

Auckland Blues kept their slim finals hopes alive as they defended a proud Eden Park record to trounce the Hurricanes. Marnitz Boshoff kicked 22 points as the Lions defeated the Bulls to move off the bottom of the table to 13th, halting a run of seven consecutive Super 15 losses.

Super Rugby results

  • Crusaders 30-7 Western Force
  • Reds 38-31 Hurricanes
  • Chiefs 17-33 Waratahs
  • Blues 37-24 Hurricanes
  • Brumbies 37-10 Melbourne Rebels
  • Lions 32-21 Bulls
  • Sharks 19-21 Stormers

– Additional reporting by Patrick McCarry

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