Super Rugby

Stunning Stormers fight back to break Pumas hearts

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The Stormers fought back to beat Pumas 37-42 with a superb Round 3 Super Rugby Unlocked win at Mbombela Stadium, Mbombela.

Warrick Gelant scored with less than two minutes remaining to cap a thrilling come back by the Stormers, who trailed 37-14 with 18 minutes to play.

The two teams shared 10 tries each, the Pumas four, including a Neil Maritz brace, but the Stormers crossed six times in this exciting South African derby free for all.

The Stormers remain unbeaten after their opening two games of Super Rugby Unlocked and move into second on the log.


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The unfancied Pumas have won one and lost twice in their three Super Rugby games.

Pumas race to a commanding lead against a shell shocked Stormers.

Four fourth-quarter tries by the visitors overturned a 23-point deficit as the Pumas wilted in the final 20 minutes.

Instead of playing keep-ball, the hosts started kicking needlessly, slipped tackles, and conceded penalties in the wrong area.

John Dobson’s fitter team, went up a couple of gears to finish off the tiring Mpumalanga side.

Maritz, Jeandre Rudolph, and Wayne van der Bank all crossed for the Pumas, who stormed to a 30-14 halftime lead.

Super Rugby Unlocked Round 3 Video Highlights: Pumas versus Stormers at Mbombela Stadium, Mbombela

Rikus Pretorius and Herschel Jantjies dotted down for the Stormers, who were comprehensively outplayed during the first 40 minutes.

Eddie Fouche, who had not missed a kick all season, added two penalties and two conversions before he left the field in the 28th-minute following a serious knee injury.

Pumas continue scoring spree but Stormers fight back with four second-half converted tries to win a thrilling match.

Tryscorer Rudolph received a yellow card, soon after the restart, for throwing Herschel Jantjies into the advertising hoardings after the scrumhalf was pushed into touch by the number eight.

Jimmy Stonehouse’s side controlled territory and possession, slowing down the clock as they waited for Rudolph to return.

Despite being a man down, it was Stonehouse’s charges who grabbed the next score when Maritz dived over in the corner, two minutes before Rudolph’s return.

An attack down the blindside after a lineout saw Van Der Bank’s chicken-wing offload, gratefully taken by Maritz, to score his second try in the corner.

Neil Marais, replacing the injured Fouche, added the sideline conversion to open up a commanding 23-point lead in the 53rd-minute.

Pumas run out of steam as the Stormers find their rhythm and win the game at the death.

For all the possession and territory, the home team ran out of steam and ideas.

They tried to slow the play, but they lost their heads, giving the ball away cheaply trying to defend a four-score advantage.

Neethling Fouche crashed over from close range, on 62 minutes, to claim his team’s first points since Jantjies’ converted try on the half-hour mark.

Nine minutes later, Bongi Mbonambi flopped over the whitewash following a powerful driving maul by the Stormers forwards.

Swiel added the extras to make it 37-28 with eight to play.

The Pumas were reeling; they were knackered, looking for water breaks. The Stormers sensed blood in the water.

Zas scored the visitors’ fifth try a minute later after the Stormers went coast-to-coast to cut the deficit to two points with four minutes remaining.

Another attack from deep ended when Gelant scored in the 78th-minute. The try sealed the Cape Town franchise a hard-fought smash-and-grab victory.

Final Score: Pumas 37 (30) Stormers 42 (14)

Scorers

Pumas
Tries – Maritz (2), Rudolph, Van der Bank
Pen – E. Fouche (3)
Con – E. Fouche (2), Marais (2)
Drop –
Cards – Rudolph (Yellow, 44′)

Stormers
Tries – Pretorius, H. Jantjies, N. Fouche, Mbonambi, Zas, Gelant
Pen –
Con – Swiel (6)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 1: Aimee Barrett-Theron
Assistant Ref 2: Griffin Colby
TMO: AJ Jacobs

Teams

Pumas
15 Devon Williams, 14 Neil Maritz, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Eddie Fouche, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (captain), 4 Darrien Landsberg, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Morgan Naude

Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Heath Backhouse, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Dian Badenhorst, 21 Niel Marais, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Ig Prinsloo

Stormers

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Leon Lyons.

Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Jaco Coetzee, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Eksteen

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