The Stormers produced a controlled and composed performance to claim a deserved 30-13 victory over the Cheetahs at Newlands on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Under the name of the Stormers, this was the last game at Newlands for the Cape side, who will travel to Durban to face the Sharks next weekend before Western Province carries the campaign over to the Currie Cup.
In that context, and for what it’s worth, this was undoubtedly a most satisfactory result for the home side as they found particular favour at scrum time and never looked in danger of coming away with anything but a winning result.
The victory also has the Stormers leapfrogging the Sharks into second place in the Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked standings, and they are now just two points adrift of the Vodacom Bulls with one round remaining.
Although the first half was far from a free-flowing affair, the Stormers would have been satisfied with the control they asserted on proceedings, which had them achieve early scrum ascendancy, while Damian Willemse kicked nicely out of hand.
The solitary try in that opening stanza came from a bit of opportunistic play from returning scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies as he sniped down the unmanned blindside from a ruck to go over unopposed.
Ultimately, the Cheetahs just didn’t have enough front-foot ball to get their game going, and would have been mightily frustrated when two rare opportunities in the red zone ultimately came to nought.
As it was, the first half largely went the way of the Stormers, who opened up a handy 13-3 lead after a superb long-range drop goal from Willemse just before the break.
The Stormers stretched their advantage early in the second half when Juarno Augustus finished off a brilliant try that was largely created through some magic touches from Warrick Gelant.
Yet, that five-pointer ultimately paled in comparison to the dose of ‘Specmagic’ that was dished up by Cheetahs wing Rosko Specman when he produced undoubtedly the try of the season with a chip, chase and acrobatic finish in the 64th minute.
It was a piece of individual brilliance that helped bring the Cheetahs back within seven points of the Stormers, but then came the scrum power of a World Cup-winning front row to secure another set-piece penalty that was duly slotted by Willemse.
The flyhalf then turned into provider as he delivered a delightful offload for Gelant to score and complete a comfortable victory for his side.
Stormers – Tries: Herschel Jantjies, Juarno Augustus, Warrick Gelant. Conversions: Damian Willemse (3). Penalties: Willemse (2). Drop goal: Willemse.
Cheetahs – Try: Rosko Specman. Conversion: Tian Schoeman. Penalties: Schoeman (2).
Stormers – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Ruhan Nel, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (c).
Subs (from): 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Neethling Fouche, 20 Chris van Zyl, 21 David Meihuizen, 22 Ben-Jason Dixon, 23 Godlen Masimla, 24 Kade Wolhuter, 25 Michal Hazner, 26 Leolin Zas.
Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Junior Pokomela (c), 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 Boan Venter, 17 Marnus van der Merwe, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Chris Smit.