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Stormers bully Blues

  • 17 Mar 2018
EW Viljoen EW Viljoen

EW Viljoen scored a brace as the Stormers powered their way to a 37-20 win over the Blues in Cape Town on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.

The Stormers were hurting in more ways than one earlier this week. As if three straight losses in Australasia weren’t bad enough, many of the players were said to be sick with flu.

Nobody, including coach Robbie Fleck, appeared to be confident about the hosts’ chances against a star-studded Blues team. Tana Umaga’s side beat the Lions at Ellis Park last week, and was expected to claim at least four log points from their visit to Newlands.

In the end, it was the Stormers who played like stars and the Blues who played as if they were battling a debilitating illness. The hosts dominated the first half, bashing their way through the Blues defence and showing just as much aggression and accuracy without the ball.

Damian de Allende made a statement when he repelled All Blacks No 12 Sonny Bill Williams on two separate occasions. Pieter-Steph du Toit was prominent with ball in hand, showing terrific power to shrug off the first defender and then find Raymond Rhule with a pin-point pass in the lead-up to the hosts’ second try.

The Stormers scored three tries in the first half and went to the break with a commanding 24-3 lead. The Blues’ stats made for bleak reading at that point, with the visitors conceding 10 turnovers on attack and missing 12 tackles.

The Blues hit back right after half-time when No 8 Akira Ioane scored from a 5m scrum. JJ Engelbrecht made amends for his defensive lapse, though, when he scooped up a loose ball five minutes later.

The wing sprinted as far as the Blues’ 22m line before he was caught by Melani Nanai. Engelbrecht still had the presence of mind to look for the offload, though, and help Viljoen score his second try of the game.

Damian Willemse slotted a penalty goal in the 65th minute to steer his side to a 19-point lead. That kick all but sealed the result for the hosts.

Centre Rieko Ioane crossed the tryline in the 69th minute for the visitors. That score gave the Blues some hope of salvaging a draw, and effectively dashed the Stormers’ chances of claiming a try-scoring bonus point.

Willemse kicked another penalty in the 73rd minute to make absolutely certain about the result. The 19-year-old flyhalf finished the game with a personal tally of 17 points.

Stormers – Tries: EW Viljoen (2), Raymond Rhule, Dewaldt Duvenage. Conversions: Damian Willemse (4). Penalties: Willemse (3).

Blues – Tries: Akira Ioane, Michael Collins, Rieko Ioane. Conversion: Stephen Perofeta. Penalty: Bryn Gatland.

Stormers – 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Dean Muir, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Johann Fouche, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Abraham Coetzee, 22 Albertus de Wet, 23 Craig Barry.

Blues – 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Subs: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Mike Tamoaieta, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Stephen Perofeta, 23 George Moala.

Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

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