The Stormers earned a 52-24 bonus point Super Rugby victory over the Southern Kings in their final match ahead of the play offs next week.
Stormers winger Huw Jones scored four tries and Leolin Zas a hat-trick of tries for the Cape Town side who will host a quarter-final match against the Chiefs next weekend.
The Southern Kings finish the Super Rugby season in 17th place with two wins and thirteen losses from their 15 matches.
The Stormers victory could have come with a cost though as flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis had to be helped from the field injured.
At the start, the roar of the crowd who gave the Stormers a rousing welcome when they ran onto field had hardly abated when centre Huw Jones scored under the posts after he gathered his own deft chip ahead, just 47 seconds into the match.
Flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis added the extra two points from the kicking tee.
The next 14 minutes of the match was played in the Kings’ 22m area and given the Stormers obvious set-piece strength it was inevitable that a score was imminent. The Stormers chose a five-metre scrum instead of a penalty under the posts and Jones was over three passes later for his second try.
Du Plessis’s conversion made it 14-0 and at this rate, the Stormers were scoring a point a minute.
Kings flyhalf Dewald Human ensured his side wasn’t leaving Newlands with a bagel and goaled a 20th-minute penalty.
Straight from the restart, the Kings were forced back on defence and after they held up the Stormers thrice on the tryline in quick succession a backline variation saw leftwing Leolin Zas streak through a yawning gap for his side’s third converted try (21-3).
Just ahead of the halftime break, the 14-man Stormers (scrumhalf Louis Schreuder had been yellow-carded in the 32nd minute) took their foot off the pedal and allowed the Kings to make several sorties into their 22-m area and one of these came good when Kings fullback Malcolm Jaer pounced on a kick-ahead in the in-goal area.
Human converted and the teams changed ends at 21-10 in the Stormers’ favour.
Shortly before the halftime whistle sounded, substitute Brandon Thomson came on for injured flyhalf Du Plessis, who suffered an ankle injury and the early prognosis is that he looks set to miss next week’s play-off.
The Stormers needed just five minutes of play to keep the scoreboard ticking over. The score came from Jones with his third try of the match after a training-ground move was smartly executed by forwards and backs. Thomson’s conversion attempt failed (26-10).
On the hour mark, the Kings lost the ball from a 10m scrum and once the Stormers pounced on the stray ball it was smartly relayed along the backline before Zas dived over for his second try. Thomson’s conversion attempt from the touchline failed (31-10).
The rout gained momentum gained momentum when the Stormers scored twice in the space of three minutes. First Zas ran in for his third try from some 70m after and an interception and then Thomson scored after the Kings defence were out on their feet. Thomson was on target with both conversions as the Stormers closed in on the half-century mark.
Kings leftwing Wandie Mjekevu and centre Stefan Watermeyer snatched converted tries for the Kings in the final three minutes of the match.
In between these two touchdowns, Huw bagged his fourth and Thomson converted another.
Final Score Stormers 52 (21) Kings 24 (10)
Tries – H.Jones 4, L.Zas 3, B.Thomson
Con – J.du Plessis 3, Thomson 2
Cards – L.Schreuder (32nd minute yellow)
Tries -M.Jaer, W.Mjekevu, S.Watermeyer
Con – D.Human, S.Watermeyer
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Ref 2:Rodney Bonaparte
TMO : Shaun Veldsman
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Schalk Burger (captain), 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 JP Smith, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Scott van Breda.
15: Malcolm Jaer , 14: Lukhanyo Am , 13: Stefan Watermeyer , 12: Shane Gates (VC) , 11: Wandile Mjekevu , 10: Dewald Human , 9: James Hall , 8: Jacques Engelbrecht , 7: Stefan Willemse , 6: Andisa Ntsila , 5: JC Astle , 4: Steven Sykes (C) , 3: Jacobie Adriaanse , 2: Edgar Marutlulle , 1: Sti Sithole
Replacements : 16: Martin Bezuidenhout , 17: Schalk Ferreira , 18: Tom Botha , 19: Schalk Oelofse / Sintu Manjezi , 20: Aidon Davis , 21: Kevin Luiters , 22: Elgar Watts , 23: Jeremy Ward