The Blues beat the Stormers 33-14 on Saturday to record their first victory at Newlands since 2009. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Blues came into this clash on the back of a narrow win over the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld. They were expected to struggle against the overall log leaders, though, especially at the set pieces and in the outside channels.
On the day, however, the Blues produced a powerful scrummaging performance to force a complacent Stormers pack onto the back foot. They won several early penalties at this set piece, and used the resultant momentum to punch through the defence and register points.
The Newlands faithful watched on in stunned silence as the Blues scored 20 unanswered points in the first 21 minutes. Otere Black was in accurate form in front of goal, while wing Joe Marchant and flank Dalton Papalii made the most of their early opportunities to cross the tryline.
The Stormers scrum settled and laid the platform for the hosts’ first try. Juarno Augustus powered over from close range and Damian Willemse converted to reduce the deficit.
The momentum of the contest shifted in the Stormers’ favour in the 28th minute. Mark Telea took out opposing wing Sergeal Petersen in the air, and was shown a yellow card. Willemse and Petersen linked up brilliantly to expose the Blues defence.
But the Blues had the final say to the half. Scarra Ntubeni missed his jumper at the lineout and the visitors struck from turnover ball.
Telea repelled several Stormers defenders and Marchant finished on the right-hand side of the field. The Blues went to the break with a commanding – and deserved – 27-14 lead.
A sustained period on attack immediately after half time only yielded three points for the visitors. Black added a fourth penalty goal after 62 minutes, though, to stretch the lead to 16 points and all but clinch the win.
The result has the Blues leaving South Africa with two wins from two matches. It also brings an end to the Stormers’ four-game winning streak.
The Cape side will go into their bye next week with much to ponder.
Stormers – Tries: Juarno Augustus, Sergeal Petersen. Conversions: Damian Willemse (2).
Blues – Tries: Joe Marchant (2), Dalton Papalii. Conversions: Otere Black (3). Penalties: Black (4).
Stormers – 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (c).
Subs: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwezo Blose, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Salman Moerat, 20 Cobus Wiese 21 Ernst van Rhyn, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis.
Blues – 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Joe Marchant, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Jacob Pierce, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 3 Sione Mafileo 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Subs: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Aaron Carroll, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Matt Duffie.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images