The ACT Brumbies recovered from 15-3 down in the second half to draw 15-15 in their Super 14 match against the Stormers at Newlands on Friday evening.
Kobus van der Merwe's Stormers, however, will again reflect on the match as a missed opportunity as they played a good first half to lead 9-3 at the break and even appeared in control as they added two more penalties after the interval.
But the Brumbies deserved something from the game by virtue of scoring two tries to the Stormers' nil.
The home side simply did not pose enough of a threat with their backline. Apart from the a few untidy lineouts early on, the Stormers easily had the better of a first half in which the Brumbies seemed intent on probing for territory via flyhalf Stephen Larkham's boot rather than use their world class backs.
This might have been motivated by the Stormers' poor tactical kicking game in the previous week's defeat to the Waratahs. Fullback Werner Greeff, however, was on top of his game and together with Peter Grant ensured that the Stormers were well served in the kicking department.
The Stormers went closest to scoring a try in the first half when centre De Wet Barry found wing Ryno Benjamin with a pass in the surge down the right. Benjamin, realising that he was running out of space down the touchline, went for the chip and chase.
Brumbies scrumhalf George Gregan, however, came across on the cover defence to hoof the ball over the dead-ball line. It was a minute later, however, that the Brumbies were penalised for hands in the ruck in front of their own posts and Grant slotted his first penalty to give the Stormers a 3-0 lead.
The undoubted highlight of the first half did not result in any points, but Stormers hooker Schalk Brits showed that he could match any back on the field for skill as he went on a dazzling run and even managed to rip himself loose after he was initially tied up.
The Brumbies managed to check him properly the second time and a minute later themselves came close to scoring in the right-hand corner.
However, a stunning tackle from Springbok flank Schalk Burger saved the day. Grant doubled the lead in the 16th minute when the Brumbies were penalised for holding on, but the Aussies got themselves onto the scoreboard a minute later through centre Stirling Mortlock after the Stormers had strayed off-side.
The rest of the half was an intriguing game of chess, with the Stormers just shading it by virtue of Grant's third penalty in the 32nd minute. They managed to increase the lead four minutes into the second half thanks to Bolla Conradie's opportunism.
The Springbok scrumhalf took a 22-metre drop goal quickly and the Brumbies player who eventually covered had to hold on to ensure that the Stormers didn't score a try. Grant slotted his fourth penalty and his fifth soon followed when the Brumbies were penalised for a high tackle on Jongi Nokwe.
However, the Brumbies showed their outstanding pedigree and once they decided to keep the ball in hand they started to threaten the Stormers on a regular basis. Lock Alister Campbell scored their first try in the 52nd after they had the Stormers on the ropes with some impressive phase play.
Left wing Mark Gerrard kicked the conversion to bring the Brumbies within striking distance. The Stormers had a couple of excellent opportunities to increase their lead, but could not breach the Brumbies' defensive line from two attacking scrums in their 22-metre area.
The first time the Brumbies managed to turn the ball over after a crash-ball tactic and the next turned defence into attack after a knock by the Stormers left wing Jongi Nokwe. Nokwe's blunder effectively led to the try that drew the Brumbies level. Gus Theron hoofed the ball out from inside his own 22-metrea area after the Brumbies had countered down the left.
However, the lineout offered only momentary respite and it came as no surprise when Brumbies fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper finished in the right-hand corner in the 64th minute. Gerrard missed the conversion and at 15-all the game was poised on a knife's edge.
Neither side, however, could find a way through, though there was a heart-stopping moment for the home supporters at the end when the Brumbies went close after Burger had knocked on.
Flyhalf Peter Grant (5).
Lock Alister Campbell,
fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Conversion: Wing Mark Gerrard.
Centre Stirling Mortlock.
Source : Sapa /vn