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United Rugby Championship: Lukhanyo Am’s Backwards Kick Pass Sums Up Dismal Round 5 Wrap
- United Rugby Championship's fifth match weekend was poor reading for South Africans
- South Africa's team are still lacking the presence of the World Champion Springboks
- Leinster top the table with the closest South African team down in seventh
South Africa's United Rugby Championship campaign has been a difficult ask thus far.
Hampered by the absence of their top-tier Springboks, South African franchises have little to boast about after five weeks of competition.
Four defeats from four left them with a blank scorecard, assuring that these opening weeks will haunt the four South African teams in the final log standings.
The Bulls, Lions and Stormers are all currently on tour, with the Sharks still at home.
Here is how the South African franchises fared.
Edinburgh 31 - Bulls 23
The Bulls are the leading South African franchise and may well have earned a win save for a red card for Marcell Coetzee in the opening minutes of the second half.
The Bulls were two points up at the time in a tight scrap, but despite a brave performance, would not be able to hold on without a premier destroyer in their pack.
Ulster 24 - Lions 17
The Lions started well, providing the best half of rugby by a South African team this weekend heading into half-time with a 14-7 lead.
As has been the case with the Johannesburg franchise, they couldn't put two halves together, as the hosts returned to the basics, grinding down the visitors to earn the win.
Sharks 12 - Connacht 13
The Sharks were industrious, having the bulk of possession, but the weekend was summed up by a try set up by a 10-yard backwards kick pass that ricocheted all the way to an ecstatic Werner Kok.
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Curwin Bosch had an inventive afternoon, but while attempting to orchestrate as he had done all match, was caught in an isolated position whereby the visitors earned the game-winning penalty.
Munster 10 - Stormers 3
The Western Cape men came closest in the first half with a slick linebreak created by Warrick Gellant and progressed by Lionel Zass, only for the bounce of his chip-kick to not go his way.
It was the story of the evening, as the Stormers chose to go to the boot too often, capping off an ultimately boring weekend of rugby.
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Relive the homecoming at OR Tambo International
Sports Brief recently reported on the delirium at OR Tambo as the Springboks arrived home from France.
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The 2023 Rugby World Cup champions arrived home to be figuratively hoisted onto the shoulders of thousands.
Fans stayed behind for hours in the Monday rain to soak up every last drop of magic in the atmosphere.