The Stormers punished an errant Cheetahs side to run out 33-0 winners at Newlands. JON CARDINELLI reports.
My, how the tables have turned. In the previous match-up between these two teams, the Cheetahs handed the Cape side a lesson in attacking rugby. On this occasion, however, it was the Stormers who proved the more potent side.
The conditions at Newlands were certainly not conducive to a running rugby spectacle. The rain eventually abated but the ground remained wet, and a driving wind made the fielding of the high ball that much more difficult.
It was the Stormers who made better use of the wind, as their kickers and chasers succeeded in unsettling the defence of the Cheetahs. By contrast, the Cheetahs' line-kicking was aimless.
In one game-shaping instance, Johan Goosen kicked straight to Stormers wing Cheslin Kolbe, who then used the space down the left flank to initiate a counter-attack. This sweeping movement would culminate in Damian de Allende putting Kobus van Wyk through a gap for a great team try.
The Stormers made their opportunities count in every sense. Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss was sin-binned for a tip tackle in the 22nd minute, and during the Springbok hooker’s absence, the Stormers racked up 10 points.
Poor discipline cost the Cheetahs in this fixture, but then so too did woeful decision-making. They had three opportunities to kick for goal in the first half but instead opted to kick for the touchline and set the lineout.
They were made to regret each of these decisions. The determined Stormers defence turned them over on each occasion.
The madness continued well into the second stanza. The Cheetahs turned down three shots on goal in the first 10 minutes. They trailed by 15 points, and it was clear that they intended to reduce the deficit via a couple of quick tries.
But the Stormers defence stood firm, and flyhalf Kurt Coleman continued to slot penalties at the other end of the pitch. Two late tries then ensured that the Stormers secured a bonus point as well as the victory.
The performance was a convincing one from the Cape side, who were without their inspirational skipper Jean de Villiers on the night. They were also without stand-in captain Schalk Burger for the entire second half, but still managed to keep the Cheetahs scoreless.
They have no chance of making the play-offs, but taking this particular performance into account, it now seems likely that they will avoid the embarrassment of finishing last in the South African conference.
Stormers – Tries: Deon Fourie, Kobus van Wyk, Siya Kolisi, Sailosi Tagicakibau. Conversions: Kurt Coleman, Peter Grant. Penalties: Coleman (2), Grant.
Stormers – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger (c), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Dylon Frylinck, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau.
Cheetahs – 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Franscois Uys, 4 Willem Serfontein, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Carel Greeff, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Gouws Prinsloo.
LEATHERMAN SA PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Damian de Allende was outstanding in the No 12 position. He showed terrific pace on the counter-attack, as well as momentum-stalling physicality on defence throughout. His vision and passing in the build up to Kobus van Wyk’s try was a highlight.
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Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images