South Africa - It was a changing of fortunes weekend for South Africa's Super Rugby teams. The Southern Kings overturned a four match-losing streak, the Stormers ended a two match losing streak, and the Bulls celebrated their first victory in four weeks.
On Saturday, the Southern Kings defied critics by beating the Rebels 30-27 in a nail-biting affair. The two teams are still languishing at the bottom of the log, but the Port Elizabeth side will welcome their second victory this season, and having drawn with the Brumbies last weekend. Perhaps this is a shift in gear for the struggling newly promoted side.
The Stormers pulled off victory against rivals the Sharks at Newlands amidst a season marred by injuries. In an all out kicking affair, the Cape side was able to subdue the South African conference leaders and walk away with a 22-15 victory. The Stormers are still far away from qualifying for a playoff position, but Saturday's win is a good sign for Allister Coetzee's charges, who fielded relatively inexperienced players against the Sharks, a positive nod to the improving depth of the squad.
The Bulls got their first win in four weeks after returning from their Australasian tour. The Pretoria side beat the Cheetahs 26-20 to put them within reach of a playoff position. After struggling against the Brumbies, Reds and Crusaders, Frans Ludeke's side ended the Cheetahs' winning streak and can focus on closing the gap on the South African conference.
After nine weeks in Super Rugby tournament, the South African conference looks like this:
1. Sharks 26
2. Cheetahs 23
3. Bulls 23
4. Stormers 20
5. Southern Kings 15
In the Overall standings, the Sharks are in third place, the Cheetahs are sixth, right behind in seventh are the Bulls, the Stormers are struggling in 11th, and the Southern Kings are in 13th place.