May 25 (Reuters) - Highlights from Super Rugby week 15 matches:
Intercept tries from Curwin Bosch and Makazola Mapimpi made the difference as the the Sharks moved second in the South African conference after a hard-fought win at King’s Park in Durban on Saturday.
Daniel du Preez was the other try scorer as the Sharks went 14-0 ahead, only to allow their visitors to score two tries of through Lionel Mapoe and Cyle Brink to bring it back to 14-14 early in the second half.
Mapimpi’s try with 20 minutes to go and Bosch’s boot then proved decisive as the 10-point winning margin denied the Lions a point that might yet come back to haunt them.
The loss for the Lions kept up their dismal record of no wins this season against fellow South African teams.
Sharks beat Lions to keep up playoff hopes
Moyana brace helps Jaguares to win over Waratahs
Mo’unga guides Crusaders to tight win over Blues
Kuridrani hat-trick helps Brumbies consolidate lead in Australia
Do or die Waratahs prepared for tough test against Jaguares
Stormers looking for right rub of the green
Pollard goes home with calf injury
Australia great Smith calls time on career
Wallabies hooker Latu stood down over drink driving charge
Players’union to conduct ‘faith’ review in wake of Folau sacking
NZ Rugby, Crusaders to review Cape Town incidents
Folau waives right to appeal, says ‘no confidence’ in process
Sonny Bill only has to prove fitness ahead of World Cup
The Stormers kept up hopes of a playoff place with a handy victory over Otago Highlanders on Saturday, outscoring them with four tries to three.
The Stormers, who started the weekend bottom of the South African conference, were 17-3 ahead at half-time after tries from new scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies and captain Siya Kolisi.
The Highlanders, also needing points in search of a playoff berth, scored second-half tries through Patelesio Tomkinson, Waisake Naholo and Siate Tokolahi.
But the Stormers always keep themselves ahead as lock Cobus Wiese and substitute Jean-Luc du Plessis also went over.
Winger Ramiro Moyano scored two tries on Saturday as the Jaguares thwarted a fightback from the Waratahs to extend their lead at the top of the South African conference.
The visitors had Pablo Matera sinbinned in the second half for collapsing a rolling maul that also resulted in a penalty try, while Curtis Rona also scored a try with the flanker off the field to keep the Sydney-based side in the match.
Replacement flyhalf Joaquin Diaz Bonilla added two late penalties as they moved to 36 competition points, four ahead of the second-placed Bulls, who were beaten by the ACT Brumbies 22-10 in Canberra.
Flyhalf Richie Mo’unga had a hand in all of the Crusaders’ points as they put a controversial week off the field behind them to beat the Blues in Christchurch on Saturday and extend their lead at the top of the New Zealand conference.
Mo’unga slotted four penalties and provided a deft chip kick over the defensive line that led to Bryn Hall’s first half try in a stop-start match that never really got any flow.
Blues flyhalf Harry Plummer kicked two penalties for the visitors, who struggled in the set piece and did not threaten the Crusaders’ line until Rieko Ioane crossed in the 71st minute.
The Crusaders moved to 53 points with the victory, 13 ahead of the second-placed Wellington Hurricanes, who have a bye this week.
Flyhalf Quade Cooper’s ability to put players into space contributed to four of the Rebels’ eight tries as they stayed in contention for the Australian conference title with a record win over the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday.
Cooper’s wide passing into space led to tries to Marika Koroibete (two), Angus Cottrell and Dane Haylett-Petty while Jack Maddocks (two), Michael Ruru and Jordan Uelese also crossed for the visitors, who lost scrumhalf Will Genia shortly after halftime when he appeared to be knocked unconscious in a tackle.
The Rebels (33) remained in touch with the Australian-conference leading ACT Brumbies (34) and moved seven points clear of the third-placed New South Wales Waratahs, who play the Jaguares later on Saturday in Sydney.
It was the most points the Rebels have scored in a Super Rugby match and surpassed their largest winning margin even with Jason Emery grabbing a consolation try for the Sunwolves.
Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani scored a hat-trick of tries as the Brumbies extended their lead at the top of the Australian conference with victory over South African leaders the Bulls in Canberra on Friday.
Kuridrani’s centre partner Irae Simone added his first Super Rugby try as the Brumbies moved to 34 points, giving them a six-point advantage over the Melbourne Rebels (28), who face the lowly but unpredictable Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday.
Hanro Liebenberg scored a try for the visitors when they held a man advantage in the first half with Tom Cusack sinbinned after a succession of penalties.
The Bulls remained on 32 points, the same as Argentina’s Jaguares, who play the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.
The Chiefs tackled themselves into a standstill and twice defied an 11-man driving maul in the final five minutes to hold off the Reds at Waikato Stadium on Friday and keep alive their very slim chances of making the playoffs.
Pita Sowakula, Atu Moli and Etene Nanai-Seturo scored first half tries for the Chiefs, who spent virtually all of the second spell defending as the Reds controlled the ball but were unable to breach the home side’s impressive defensive line.
Taniela Tupou scored the only points of the second half with a try from a sustained buildup as the visitors hammered at the Chiefs’ line. The visitors forced the Chiefs to make 240 tackles in the game. The Reds made less than 90.
Referee Angus Gardner initially awarded two tries to the Reds and one to the Chiefs in the first half but television match official Glenn Newman overruled all three. (Compiled by Greg Stutchbury and Mark Gleeson, Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ed Osmond)