The Stormers moved off the bottom of the combined log with a 24-8 win against the Western Force at Newlands on Saturday, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.
This was the Cape franchise's fourth and most convincing win of a disappointing season and they achieved it without Schalk Burger, who failed a late fitness test and was replaced by Siya Kolisi. The Force, who had beaten the Cheetahs last week, offered little on attack and never looked like making it two from two on tour.
The Stormers had all the ball in the opening 10 minutes, but had nothing to show for it as the Force made tackle after tackle.
Peter Grant missed an early shot at goal, which saw him put their next kickable penalty into touch. The Stormers won the lineout and then earned a 5m scrum, 15 phases later, after Damian de Allende had come within inches of scoring. They came close again, only to be penalised for a double movement, and were then penalised again on the tryline as the Force defence held firm.
But Grant finally got the Stormers on the board with a simple 15th-minute penalty, which was followed by a converted try in the left-hand corner to Juan de Jongh after some slick hands from Cheslin Kolbe.
The Force responded with a Sias Ebersohn penalty and began to get back into the game as far as possession and territory were concerned.
However, it was the Stormers who finished the half strongly, kicking a penalty to touch and setting up a driving maul from the lineout. Adam Coleman was sin-binned for collapsing it, and again the hosts pushed for the try, with De Allende held up just short. A strong Stormers scrum then resulted in a penalty try that gave them a 17-3 lead at the break.
The Stormers made their one-man advantage count again early in the second half. Deon Fourie was held up over the line, before Ruan Botha went over from the 5m scrum and Grant's conversion made it 24-3.
The Force spent most of the last quarter inside Stormers' territory, as Kolbe and Jaco Taute were yellow-carded for professional fouls in quick succession. But they were only able to score one try against 13 men, via Matt Hodgson, with Michael Rhodes making a try-saving tackle on Jayden Hayward.
Stormers – Try: Juan de Jongh, penalty try, Ruan Botha. Conversions: Peter Grant (3). Penalty: Grant.
Force – Try: Matt Hodgson. Penalty: Sias Ebersohn.
Stormers – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Brok Harris.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Rohan Kitshoff, 21 Dylon Frylinck, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Michael van der Spuy.
Force – 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 12 Luke Burton, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Subs: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Justin Turner, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Patrick Dellit.
LEATHERMAN SA PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Nizaam Carr produced another good performance, making 13 carries, more than any Stormers forward, and 13 tackles, behind only Deon Fourie (14) and Michael Rhodes (18).
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Photo: Luke Walker/Gallo Images