The Stormers beat the Highlanders 34-15 to continue their recent good form against the Otago franchise at Newlands, Cape Town.
The win was the Stormers’ sixth win in seven Super Rugby matches against the Highlanders at Newlands, which ends a run of three consecutive defeats to the New Zealanders.
The Stormers were in control throughout, despite going 3-nil behind in the first quarter.
Robbie Fleck’s men scored four tries to two, twice scoring immediately after a Highlanders’ try, in a comfortable but bruising outing under Table Mountain.
Herschel Jantjies, Siya Kolisi, Cobus Wiese and Jean-Luc du Plessis all crossed the whitewash in a dominant display.
Aaron Mauger’s chargers were kept tryless until the 52nd-minute when Patelesio Tomkinson scored his side’s first.
Waisake Naholo, who was superb, dotted down 15 minutes later, and Siate Tokolahi crashed over for a try, too.
Tomkinson crashed over from close range after a good carry by Shannon Frizell.
The ball was recycled quickly by Aaron Smith to the inside centre, who crashed through De Allende and Johannes Engelbrecht’s tackles.
The Stormers, however, hit back again
It came from more Leyds magic, throwing an outrageous dummy that sent two forwards to the shops.
The 26-year-old broke through the big hole, drew a defender and sent Wiese away for his second Super Rugby try.
Stander missed a long-range penalty before being replaced by Jean-Luc du Plessis.
Du Plessis extended his side’s lead with a 63rd-minute penalty after Engelbrecht was taken out with an off-the-ball hit by Tyrel Lomax.
Naholo, who was superb, crashed over after some neat handling and a nifty offload by Ash Dixon n the build-up.
Jean-Luc du Plessis found his way over after Damian de Allende’s break, but the visitors kept coming.
Tokolahi scored his side’s third after the hooter, but it was no consolation on this disappointing South Africa tour.
A tight opening quarter with big hits taking an early toll
An attritional game started with players dropping and the medics spending some time on the pitch.
Tom Franklin went down after Siyabonga Ntubeni was seen to.
Josh Ioane and Eben Etzebeth were late withdrawals for both teams.
Pieter-Steph du Toit went from flank to lock, Kobus van Dyk moved from the bench to the flank, and Johan took Van Dyk’s place on the bench, but would be a lock replacement.
Ioane was scheduled to start but was deemed not fit, so Banks started at first receiver, and Dan Hollinshead moved to the bench.
The first chance of a tight match went the way of the visitors.
Dillyn Leyds knocks on, and the Highlanders counter-attacked.
The ball went left then right to the big monster Waisake Naholo.
Naholo tried to run over Leyds, but Leyds atoned for his error, making a try-saving tackle on Naholo.
The winger managed an offload to Elliot Dixon, but the number eight knocked on with the try-line at his mercy.
Seabelo Senatla thought he had scored, soon afterwards.
Senatla gathered Damian de Allende’s deft chip-kick and scored under the posts; however, referee Nic Berry saw Senatla in front of the kicker and called on TMO Willie Vos to check.
Vos wanted to award the try, but Mr Berry told him to look for another angle.
There wasn’t any, but Berry told Vos the winger was in front and chalked off the five-pointer.
Banks kicked an 18th-minute penalty to open the scoring, but the Stormers hit back immediately.
Jantjies was put away by Senatla after an impressive jinking run by the sevens specialist.
He swerved inside Faddes and offloaded to Jantjies.
The scrumhalf stepped Banks and dotted on the chalk, under pressure from Aaron Smith, for his third Super Rugby try.
It was glorious.
Stander added a penalty after Leyds’ quick-tap penalty, was halted illegally for not being back 10.
Faddes was given his marching orders in the 28th-minute for picking up De Allende and flipping on his head.
The ref had warned Luke Whitelock for two previous high tackles by the tourists in the earlier phases, so he had no option to bin the fullback.
Déjà vu magic sets up another Kolisi classic
The Stormers made their extra man count, scoring before halftime after another well-worked lineout move inside the opposition’s 22.
Kolisi combined with De Allende with a one-hand take from the set-piece move.
Senatla, of his wing, was the decoy, taking two defenders away from the midfield.
The Stormers skipper bounced a cover defender and swivelled out of Aaron Smith’s tackle to score.
Stander’s second conversion opened up 17-3 half-time lead.
Highlanders fight back, but could not keep the Stormers out
Tomkinson crashed over from close range, in the 52nd-minute, after a good carry by Shannon Frizell.
The ball was recycled quickly by Aaron Smith to the inside centre, who crashed through De Allende and Engelbrecht’s tackles.
Leyds continued to cause problems for the Landers, setting up Wiese’s try, three minutes after Tomkinson’s score.
Joash Stander missed a long-range penalty, but Jean-Luc du Plessis, on for the flyhalf, extended the home team’s lead to 17.
It was tit-for-tat, by now
Dixon’s magic hands put Thompson through a gap.
The ball was recycled to Naholo, who crashed over for his 42nd Super Rugby try.
The conversion was missed.
The Kiwis were trying to stay in touching distance, but could not stop the Stormers creative players from opening them up.
With 10 to play, De Allende broke through a huge hole and races from inside his half into the Otago 22.
Naholo made a try-saving tackle on Sikhumbuzo Notshe, but the ball was recycled quickly to Jean-Luc du Plessis, on the wing.
There was nobody in front of him, and he strolled over to score.
Tokolahi added to his side’s tally after the hooter, but it could not stop the Highlanders from falling to another defeat in the Republic.
Final Score: Stormers 34 (17) Highlanders 22 (3)
Tries – Jantjies, Kolisi, Wiese, J. du Plessis
Pen – Stander, J. du Plessis
Con – Stander (3), J. Du Plessis
Tries – Tomkinson, Naholo, Tokolahi
Pen – Banks
Con – Banks, Hollinshead
Cards – Faddes (Yellow, 28′)
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 2: Divan Uys
TMO: Willie Vos
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Johannes Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Joshua Stander, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Johan du Toit, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Dan Kriel
15 Matt Faddes, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Patelesio Tomkinson, 11 Jordan Hyland, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Luke Whitelock (captain), 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Dan Hollinshead, 23 Thomas Umaga-Jensen