Brumbies

Stormers lose to Cheetahs at home

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The Stormers’ horror run at Newlands continued as Springbok flyhalf Meyer Bosman’s imperious boot helped the Cheetahs to a 31-25 victory. Rassie Erasmus’s side led 18-3 at half-time and there was almost an interesting twist in the tale when the Stormers went 25-21 up with an impressive second-half flurry.


However, the Cheetahs showed great composure in the last 10 minutes, regaining the lead with a vital try from No 8 Ryno van der Merwe six minutes from time.


Both sides struggled for attacking rhythm in the first half, but the Stormers’ discipline let them down and the Cheetahs could rely on Bosman’s boot to keep the scoreboard ticking. He got the scoring under way in the ninth minute with a sweetly struck penalty after Stormers wing Tonderai Chavhanga had deliberately knocked down the ball when the Cheetahs had the try-line in their sights with an overlap.


The Stormers could have been level just four minutes later, but flyhalf Peter Grant fluffed his lines from an easy position. Instead the Cheetahs were 9-0 up after 25 minutes with Bosman adding two more penalties after the Stormers had strayed off-side.


The home side’s first points only came on the half-hour mark when Grant slotted a penalty, but the nine-point cushion was restored just a minute later when Stormers flank Justin Melck was penalised for holding back Bosman.


Two long-range efforts followed as first Chavhanga and then inside centre Jean de Villiers were penalised for holding on. The second half, however, produced a remarkable change of fortunes as Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe sent in a new halfback combination in Bolla Conradie and Naas Olivier, and reshuffled his loose-trio by bringing on Adri Badenhorst for Luke Watson.


Olivier’s introduction proved to be the key one and his distribution was noticeably superior to that of Grant. He also mixed his game, which brought uncertainty to the Cheetahs’ defence.


Olivier was the creator of the Stormers’ first try just three minutes after the restart when he slipped through a half-gap and off-loaded to lock Ross Skeate, who managed to power his way over in spite of the attentions of a few defenders. Eight minutes later, hooker Schalk Brits beat three Cheetahs players on his way to a stunning try.


Olivier’s conversion came off the post, but he made no mistake with a penalty on the hour mark that drew the Stormers level. The Cheetahs mustered a reply in the 63rd minute through another Bosman penalty.


However, the Stormers grabbed the lead in the 67th minute as Chavhanga finished after a sweeping backline move from a lineout turnover. Olivier’s conversion made it 25-21.


However, the Stormers have already shown themselves to be a side with the inability to close out a game and once again it proved that way.


The Cheetahs piled on the pressure and Van der Merwe’s try in the left-hand corner edged them ahead by a point. Bosman’s brilliantly struck conversion made it 28-25 and he added his final penalty four minutes from time when the Stormers were penalised at the scrum.


The Stormers needed a converted try to snatch the victory, but the Cheetahs ran down the clock brilliantly, leaving the Cape side with a serious crisis of confidence ahead of the overseas leg of their campaign.


Scorers:

Stormers: Tries: Lock Ross Skeate, hooker Schalk Brits, left wing Tonderai Chavhanga.
Conversion: Replacement flyhalf Naas Olivier (2).
Penalties: Flyhalf Peter Grant, Olivier.

Cheetahs: Try: No 8 Ryno van der Merwe. Conversion:
Flyhalf Meyer Bosman.
Penalties: Bosman (8).

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