State of the Euro cups: SA teams hunt play-offs

After another bout of European cup action, what do the South African sides need to progress to the next round?

The DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls closed in on a place in the last 16 of the Champions Cup, while the Sharks moved top of their pool in the Challenge Cup.

A brace of tries from Leolin Zas helped the DHL Stormers claim a 31-24 bonus-point victory over the Sale Sharks at DHL Stadium on Saturday night.

Earlier on Saturday, the Vodacom Bulls, without their star trio of Springbok outside backs, scored four tries to collect a full house of points in a 31-17 win against the Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate, with hooker Jan-Hendrik Wessels intercepting a pass to score the vital bonus-point try.

Meanwhile, the Sharks ended their three-game winless run in all competitions by swatting aside French outfit Oyonnax to earn a 38-7 victory at Kings Park.

There was less luck for the Lions and Cheetahs in the Challenge Cup. A second-string Lions side was beaten 13-3 in a scrappy contest in Montpellier, while the Cheetahs’ first-ever game in Amsterdam ended in a 33-20 loss to Pau on Sunday afternoon.

Going into the final round of pool fixtures, the Stormers and Vodacom Bulls have control of their play-off hopes.

In Pool 1, the third-placed Vodacom Bulls host first-ranked Bordeaux (15:00) on Saturday, with five points between Jake White’s team and fifth-placed Saracens.

Later on Saturday, the Stormers will travel to Paris in second place in Pool 4, to take on winless Stade Francais (19:30), needing just two points to secure a place in the round of 16.

In the Challenge Cup, the Sharks need just one point from their trip to Wales to tackle Dragons on Sunday (19:30) to progress to the last 16.

On the Sharks’ heels in Pool 1, the Cheetahs fly across to France to face Oyonnax on Saturday (17:15), needing a win to book their place in the play-offs.

Despite suffering defeat in round three, the Lions have qualified for the Challenge Cup play-offs, but will still want to get as many points as possible out of their home game against Ospreys on Sunday (15:00) to get a better seeding.

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