The Stormers completed their preparation for the upcoming Rainbow Cup with a 44-12 victory over the Lions in Cape Town on Saturday.
Pre-match prediction: Before this encounter kicked off we asked SARugbymag.co.za readers to vote on the outcome they expected. While most readers expected the Stormers to win, just over 10% tipped the home team to take the game by more than 11 points.
Gameflow: This was an impressive way for the Stormers to complete their Preparation Series. After a narrow defeat by the Bulls, the home side were well worth the margin of victory, making the most of dry conditions to release their deadly outside backs.
Most impressive about the Stormers was the way they transitioned between attack and defence, opening up a 24-0 lead at the break, thanks to three excellent tries. That margin may have been greater had it not been for a couple of handling errors near the tryline.
The second half was more tightly contested, with the Stormers having to do a fair bit of defending as the Lions started to see more of the ball. The introduction of the all-Springbok front row had an almost immediate impact for the hosts as hooker Bongi Mbonambi scored from a driving maul.
The Lions did manage a couple of consolation tries through MJ Pelser and a penalty try, but will be licking their wounds after a disappointing performance after coming into this match unbeaten.
Senatla back: The news that Seabelo Senatla would be making his first start of the Preparation Series was met with excitement by Stormers fans, who were keen see how the speedster would get on. As it happened, the wing shone at the venue where he has created so many memories with the Springbok Sevens side. Not only did Senatla create the the first try, but he also grabbed one himself and looked a threat whenever he managed to get on the ball.
Van Reenen stakes No 10 claim: Stormers coach John Dobson decided to give Abner van Reenen an opportunity at flyhalf, after previously entrusting Kade Wolhuter in the role during the pre-season. Van Reenen, who has had a bit of an injury-hit start to his professional career, duly delivered with a commanding performance, converting all of the Stormers’ tries, while also adding a couple of penalties and a well-taken drop goal. Flyhalf has generally been a bit of a problem position for the Cape side, but Dobson will be reassured by the performances of some of his young guns.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images