Peter Grant kicked four penalties to steer the 2010 Stormers to a stunning 17-13 victory over the 2006 title-winning Crusaders at Newlands in our interactive Greatest Super Rugby Team tournament.
SA Rugby magazine readers dived into Game 2 of the 32-team knockout tournament, with the home side claiming 17 of the 30 available points by logging 58% of the vote.
Twelve of those points came through Grant’s ever-reliable boot, while hooker Tiaan Liebenberg scored the Stormers’ only try after a powerful driving maul.
The Crusaders’ 13 points (41% of the vote) came through an intercept try from wing Rico Gear, while in a second-half battle of the flyhalves, Dan Carter kicked two penalties.
The result eliminates the 2006 Crusaders from the tournament and sees the 2010 Stormers advance to the round of 16, where they will face the 1996 Sharks, who beat the 2001 Brumbies in Game 1 of the tournament.
A game played in torrid, wet-weather conditions at Newlands saw the Stormers take a narrow 8-7 lead into half-time after the hosts recovered from giving away an intercept try to Gear in the first five minutes of the match.
The Stormers’ pack was in fine fettle as they won a couple of scrum penalties towards the end of the half, one of which Grant slotted, before they bravely decided to go for it, kicking to the touchline for a five-metre lineout. Andries Bekker secured the lineout after the half-time hooter had sounded and a strong drive saw Liebenberg cross in the corner, though Grant missed the conversion.
Allister Coetzee must have seen something in those final 10 minutes of the first half as there was a clear change in tactics from the ball-in-hand rugby the Stormers had been trying to play.
The second half turned into a battle of the packs, as well as a battle of the halfbacks. Grant and Carter exchanged two penalties each to keep it a one-point game, before the Stormers No 10 stretched their lead to four points with five minutes left on the clock.
That was where the Crusaders put everything into launching a late assault on the Stormers tryline, desperately looking for a match-winning try.
However, after a remarkable 20 phases, the Jacques Nienaber-drilled Stormers defence held firm and it was replacement hooker Deon Fourie who made himself the hero, winning a turnover penalty on his tryline which Grant booted into touch, prompting wild celebrations from the Stormers bench.
Stormers – Try: Tiaan Liebenberg. Penalties: Peter Grant (4)
Crusaders – Try: Rico Gear. Conversion: Dan Carter. Penalties: Carter (2).
2010 Stormers – 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (c), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Subs: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 JC Kritzinger, 18 Anton van Zyl, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Willem de Waal, 22 Tim Whitehead.
Coach: Allister Coetzee.
2006 Crusaders – 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Rico Gear, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Aaron Mauger, 11 Scott Hamilton, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Kevin Senio, 8 Mose Tuiali’I, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Reuben Thorne, 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Chris Jack, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: 16 Tone Kopelani, 17 Campbell Johnstone, 18 Johnny Leo’o, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Stephen Brett, 21 Cameron McIntyre, 22 Caleb Ralph.
Coach: Robbie Deans.