Stormers

Stormers defy Blues at home

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The Stormers demonstrated both their potency and their character, when they upset the Blues 33-20 in Cape Town on Saturday.

April is a lovely month in the Cape, and Saturday was a lovely late afternoon at Newlands – warm enough, still enough on a perfect surface – good enough for perfect rugby.

For the Stormers it was a lovely afternoon, for their supporters a delight as their unpredictable team predictably produced an upset result, their most stirring performance of the season. And how their 27,000-strong crowd loved them.

Late in the second half it looked as if they were about to let things slip as they caught the fever of ill discipline from the Blues and conceded a string of penalties, but they defended. Oh how they defended – to the point of recklessness!

 

When Schalk Ferreira was reckless and earned a yellow card at a tackle, they still defended as if suddenly they had gathered added numbers. The Blues were determined to get up to a bonus point but the Stormers flung themselves at them with fury and when de Villiers fly-kicked the ball out, it was the signal for Newlands fans to find their voice in pride.

The match started as if the Blues were the ones heading for happy perfection. The first penalty went their way and they attacked and went wide left, playing inside to Isaia Toeava of the deceptive strength. As he usually does he was strong and saw off first JP Joubert and then Conrad Jantjes on his way to a try of effortless ease.

 

David Holwell converted effortlessly and then when Brock Harris was penalised at a scrum, he kicked a penalty with effortless ease. From the City of Sails these Table Bay invaders looked to have plain sailing to victory.

Looked.

Barry dislodged the ball in a tackle and tall Ross Skeate bent and snatched it up. He got an underarm pass away to Luke Watson who raced, legs pumping, some 40 metres to score. Grant converted.

Suddenly the Blues looked rattled. Their early suave broke apart.

They were also men behaving badly. Ali Williams needed serious talking to and then, for their second successive bit of nonsense at a line-out captain Troy Flavell was sent to the sin.

Grant goaled a penalty and then Holwell did likewise. Half-time came with the Stormers leading 20-13. The Stormers did the first attacking and the first scoring. They made a penalty into an attacking line-out and Grant actually got to the line but the TMO advised against the try. Instead they settled for a penalty and Grant goaled it.

The Blues then went onto multi-phased attack and looked likely to score but that great try thief Jean de Villiers intercepted and raced 90 metres down the field with Joe Rokocoko gaining on him metre by metre. Exhausted, De Villiers dived over for a try under the bar.

Soon afterwards Grant goaled a penalty and with 21 minutes left the Stormers led 33-13.

The Blues were in trouble.

They were also in a determined mood and it was in this period that they attacked and the Stormers conceded penalty after penalty. There were five-metre line-outs and five-metre scrums and then a tapped penalty from five metres from which burly Tony Woodcock plunged over. 33-20 with 17 minutes to go.

That is a long time to defend, but that is what the Stormers did, the Blues growing increasingly frantic till eventually the match was done.

Man of the Match: Schalk Burger was great, ofcourse, and so was Jean de Villiers but our Man of the Match was tall, heroic lock Ross Skeate who did all that a lock had to do and still found energy to run with the ball.

The scorers:

For the Blues:
Tries: Toeava, Woodcock
Cons: Holwell 2
Pens: Holwell 2

For the Stormers:
Tries: Jantjes, Watson, De Villiers
Cons: Grant 3
Pens: Grant 4

Blues: 15 George Pisi, 14 Anthony Tuitavake, 13 Isaia Toeava, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 David Holwell, 9 David Gibson, 8 Nick Williams,7 Daniel Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Troy Flavell (c), 4 Ali Williams, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Derren Whitcombe, 17 Nick White, 18 Greg Rawlinson, 19 Justin Collins, 20 Steve Devine, 21 Isa Nacewa, 22 Rudi Wulff

Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 Jean De Villiers, 12 De Wet Barry, 11 Brent Russell, 10 Peter Grant, 9 JP Joubert, 8 Justin Melck, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Luke Watson (c), 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Gerrie Britz, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 JD Moller, 18 Francois Van Der Merwe, 19 Joe Van Niekerk, 20 Bolla Conradie, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Corne Uys

Referee: Matt Goddard (Australia)
Touch judges: Bradley Wahl (Australia), Linston Manuels (South Africa)
Television match official: Sean Veldsman (South Africa)
Assessor: Tony Dunlop

 

365 Digital

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