Cell C Sharks booked their place in the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 with a commanding 32-3 victory over Union Bordeaux-Bègles Bordeaux in Durban on Saturday.
The South African side’s Jaden Hendrikse and Marnus Potgieter both crossed for try braces, with Gerbrandt Grobler also going over as they secured their progress from Pool A with a game to spare.
Bordeaux endured a torrid afternoon as they received four yellow cards and their only points came through a Maxime Lucu penalty.
Cell C Sharks looked the stronger side from the outset and scored first through a Lionel Cronjé penalty on six minutes, with scrum-half Lucu striking the upright with an effort of his own as Bordeaux sought an instant response.
Cell C Sharks’ dominant scrum provided the platform for their opening try, as a penalty won against the head was taken quickly by scrum-half Hendrikse, who squirmed over from close range.
Hendrikse dotted down for his second on 22 minutes after a powerful driving maul, before Cell C Sharks’ scrum overpowered Bordeaux again and saw prop Christopher Vaotoa sent to the sin bin.
Cell C Sharks immediately punished the visitors, as lock Grobler smashed his way over the whitewash on the half hour, with things going from bad to worse for the TOP 14 outfit when hooker Clément Maynadier was yellow-carded for a cynical attempt to prevent the score.
Bordeaux weathered the storm with 13 men and ended the half with another penalty attempt from Lucu, but the captain was unable to hit the target from just shy of 50 metres.
Once back up to their full complement following the restart, Bordeaux looked to gain a foothold in the game, with Lucu notching their first points via a penalty on 43 minutes before slicing another effort wide.
However, the visitors suffered further setbacks before the hour, as fly-half Mateo Garcia and replacement lock Cyril Cazeaux were sent to the sin bin, with wing Potgieter finally grabbing the bonus-point score after good work from flanker Siya Kolisi.
Kolisi was involved again when Cell C Sharks notched a fifth try moments later, teeing up Potgieter, who cruised over out wide for his second of the afternoon.
The contest fizzled out over the closing stages, with both sides making several handling errors as injuries and personnel changes interrupted proceedings.
In the final round of pool stage games next weekend, Cell C Sharks travel to Harlequins, while Bordeaux host Gloucester Rugby, both on Saturday.
Man City Thrash Liverpool To Keep Up Title Chase
Jesus At The Double As Arsenal Steam On Towards Title
Verstappen Takes Pole For Red Bull At Australian Grand Prix
Premier League Clubs Paid £318.2 Million In Agent Fees Last Year
Sinner Says Win Over Alcaraz In Miami One Of His Best
Masi’s Door Open To Mercedes But Wolff Won’t Be Knocking
Saka Must Learn To Deal With Growing Expectations – Arteta
United’s Fernandes Rewards Fan Who Messaged Him For 300 days
South Africa Move Closer To World Cup Qualification With Easy Win Over Dutch
Smiling Saka Lights Up England Again
Kane On Target Again As England Ease Past Ukraine
South Africa Chase Down Record T20 Target To Beat Windies