Stormers scrape past Canes

Demetri Catrakilis kicked a conversion in the dying minutes to give the Stormers a 19-18 win over the Hurricanes, writes JON CARDINELLI at Newlands.

It took all of 77 minutes for the Stormers to score their first try, and even then the game was not yet won.

Catrakilis lined up the conversion attempt from a difficult angle. Had this kick missed, the Stormers would have suffered another embarrassing defeat. But Catrakilis’s kick was true, and vindicated the Stormers’ press for a try.

Minutes before, captain Jean de Villiers had instructed Catrakilis to kick a penalty for touch and the Stormers had lost possession from that lineout. De Villiers stuck to his guns when receiving another opportunity, and the Stormers finally enjoyed success in crossing the line.

If not for that try and Catrakilis’s great kick under pressure, rugby lovers would remember this clash only for the sublime innovation and finishing of several All Blacks players. Out-and-out Stormers fans would have wanted to forget about the game altogether, as for 77 minutes the Stormers were absolutely pathetic.

The Hurricanes led 12-6 at the break despite defending for much of the first half. The Stormers made a slew of handling errors during this period and showed little signs of synergy.

The poor decision-making also cost them possession; De Villiers made a bad mistake when he opted to kick a penalty to the corner in the 25th minute. The Stormers botched the lineout and allowed the Hurricanes to escape.

The attack was hopeless, the kicking aimless, and the defence completely outclassed. It’s not uncommon for the Stormers to fail in the attacking stakes, but usually their defence is dependable. But on the back of the 24-point loss to the Lions, the Stormers’ defence struggled again, conceding two tries in the dying minutes of the first half.

Conrad Smith cut the Stormers defence and then found TJ Perenara with a great inside pass. The Hurricanes scrumhalf produced an inspired grubber for Julian Savea. The All Blacks winger collected the ball at a canter, and dotted down for the first try.

A patient build-up by the visitors climaxed in a spectacular second score for wing Cory Jane. Centre Hadleigh Parks cross-kicked in Jane’s direction and the New Zealand international had to dive forward like a cricketer to catch it. His momentum took him beyond the tryline, and the Stormers were left scratching their heads.

Catrakilis kept the Stormers in the game with a penalty in the 50th minute, and it was at this point when the hosts began to show more determination. The defence managed to resist the Hurricanes after a lengthy spell camped in their own 22, and the small crowd at Newlands showed their appreciation.

The game finished in dramatic fashion. The Stormers scored seven points at the death and then defended desperately as the clock wound down.

The Hurricanes will travel back to New Zealand with nothing to show for their two-game sojourn. The Stormers head to Australasia with a win, but will need to improve dramatically if they’re going to win on tour.

If they play like they did at Newlands on Friday night, they will get pummelled.

Stormers – Try: Deon Fourie. Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis. Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis (4).
Hurricanes – Tries: Julian Savea, Cory Jane. Conversion: Beauden Barrett.  Penalties: Barrett (2).

Stormers – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Deon Fourie, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Ryno Eksteen.

Hurricanes – 15 Marty Banks, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 John Schwalger, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Subs: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 James Broadhurst, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 James Marshall.

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

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