Huw Jones scored four tries as the Stormers beat the Kings 52-24 at Newlands on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Stormers were always in control of this contest. They scored 21 points in the first half hour of the game. They were helped in part by some poor Kings defence.
The Kings were their own worst enemies. Jones scored his first try after just 45 seconds, and his second after 15 minutes. In the lead-up to both tries, the visitors' defence was exposed. It was because of these lapses that the Kings were forced to chase the game from an early stage.
The Kings fought their way back into the contest via a strong showing at the scrums and breakdowns. The Stormers were forced to concede a series of penalties, and eventually one of their players (Louis Schreuder) was shown a yellow card in the 32nd minute.
The Kings continued to run at the Stormers. The hosts did well to absorb the pressure initially, but when Shane Gates dropped the ball on to the boot for Malcolm Jaer to chase, there was no Stormers defender on hand to prevent the try. Jaer scored, and Dewald Human added the extras to reduce the deficit to 11 points.
The Stormers went to the break with a relatively modest 21-10 lead. They were dealt a setback when flyhalf and first-choice goal-kicker Jean-Luc du Plessis was helped off the field due to what appeared to be a serious knee injury.
In the 46th minute, Jones claimed his third try of the game to put the hosts back in control. On the hour, Zas crossed the tryline for the second time in the game. Six minutes later, he intercepted a Kings pass and ran all the way to complete his hat-trick.
In the dying stages, the Kings looked like a tired team that had come to the end of a long and challenging campaign. They managed to score a couple of consolation tries at the death, but their defence during those final 20 minutes was disappointing. They fell off tackles, and failed to maintain their intensity at the breakdown battle.
In the 80th minute, Jones ran between two Kings players to record his fourth try of the game. The score capped a strong performance by the outside centre, at least as far as attacking play was concerned.
Stormers – Tries: Huw Jones (4), Leolin Zas (3), Brandon Thomson. Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (3), Thomson (3).
Kings – Tries: Malcolm Jaer, Wandile Mjekevu, Stefan Watermeyer. Conversions: Dewald Human, Elgar Watts, Watermeyer. Penalty: Human.
Stormers – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Schalk Burger (c), 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 JP Smith, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Scott van Breda.
Kings – 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Dewald Human, 9 James Hall, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Marutlulle (c), 1 Sti Sithole.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse/Sintu Manjezi, 20 Aidon Davids, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Jeremy Ward.
Photo: Luke Walker/Gallo Images