The Stormers were full of running in their 18-3 win against the Lions at Newlands on Saturday, reports JON CARDINELLI.
The result marks the Stormers' second win of the season and ends a five-game losing streak. The other positive for the Cape side is that they displayed more attacking intent.
The Lions were on the back foot even before this match commenced. Captain Warren Whiteley was forced to withdraw, as was lock Martin Muller. This robbed the Lions of their leader as well as their lineout kingpin.
They did well initially, and the sustained pressure on the Stormers' line eventually told. Stormers hooker Deon Fourie overreacted at a ruck, and was sent to the sin bin. This was the period in which the Lions should have punished the Stormers on the scoreboard and taken control of the game.
As it was, the Stormers responded by scoring two tries in Fourie's absence. Their defence was excellent, despite the one-man disadvantage, and it was from a good piece of defence that they created the opportunity to counter-attack.
The intent to play the game at pace was evident throughout. Captain Jean de Villiers made a crucial decision in the 30th minute when he took a quick tap. The safer option would have been to shoot for goal and waste some time, given that they were a man down. But De Villiers took the penalty quickly, shifted the ball to the outside and Damian de Allende finished.
All the talk in the build-up was around Peter Grant's controversial selection at fullback. Grant spent just a few minutes in the position before he was forced to shift back to flyhalf.
Demetri Catrakilis sustained a broken nose in the early stages and was led off the field. As a result, Grant moved into the No 10 position and Jaco Taute came off the bench to play fullback.
Grant missed a couple of goal attempts, but it would not cost the Stormers. They scored their second try through Nizaam Carr before the break, and were well in control with the score at 18-0.
While the Stormers showed more attacking intent, their performance was far from polished. They could have gone to the break with a greater lead had they taken more of their scoring chances.
The second half witnessed a number of errors from the home side. Their decision-making was poor, as was their handling.
The Lions were just as guilty of squandering possession. Their lineout was a shambles and when they did play themselves into good field positions, their handling let them down.
There were moments when both teams showed enterprise, but for the most part, the execution was abysmal. It's not hard to understand why neither of these teams will feature in the play-offs, and why one of them could finish the league in last place.
Stormers – Tries: Damian de Allende, Nizaam Carr. Conversion: Peter Grant. Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis, Grant.
Lions – Penalty: Marnitz Boshoff.
Stormers – 15 Peter Grant, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Michael Rhodes, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Devon Williams, 23 Jaco Taute.
Lions – 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Derick Minnie (c), 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 MB Lusaseni,, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Rudi Mathee, 20 Warwick Tecklenberg, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 JW Jonker.
LEATHERMAN SA PLAYER OF THE MATCH
While this match witnessed better attacking by the Stormers, the defence was consistently good. Stormers No 8 Duane Vermeulen led the way in this regard with some momentum-stalling tackles.
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Photo: Luke Walker/Gallo Images