Warrick Gelant made a telling second-half impact to steer the Stormers to a vital bonus-point victory over the Glasgow Warriors in Cape Town on Friday night.
In his first match in nearly a month, having last played against Ulster on 26 March, Gelant came off the bench and delivered a sensational second-half performance as the Stormers claimed a 32-7 win to fortify their claim on a place in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship playoffs.
The result puts the Stormers 14 points clear of ninth-placed Scarlets, who have three games left to play, including a home game against the Cape side in the final round of the tournament.
The Springbok coaching staff would certainly have taken note of the Stormers’ fullbacks as it was Damian Willemse who ran the show in the first half, grabbing a try-assist and slotting a beautifully weighted 50/22 kick.
While plenty was made of Oli Kebble’s return to Cape Town, the Scotland-capped prop was given a rude welcome in the scrum by Frans Malherbe, who together with Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff, dominated that facet of the game.
While they got the better of the early physical exchanges, the Stormers struggled to retain possession for most of the first half and fell behind in the 18th minute when Jack Dempsey burrowed over for a controversial opening try, even though it appeared that scrumhalf Ali Price had knocked on in the build-up.
However, a moment of brilliance between Willemse and Rikus Pretorius, where the centre ran a perfect line onto Willemse’s flat pass to score, seemed to kick the Stormers into gear and settle the nerves. A coast-to-coast linebreak from the subsequent kick-off, featuring Willemse, Pretorius, Ntubeni and Seabelo Senatla, was further evidence of this and allowed Manie Libbok to extend the home side’s lead to six points at half-time.
— United Rugby Championship (URC) (@URCOfficial) April 22, 2022
Gelant replaced Pretorius at half-time after the centre took a head-knock in a big tackle in the first half. It did not take the Springbok dynamo long to impact the game, as he twice combined with Hacjivah Dayimani to first put Herschel Jantjies away for the Stormers’ second try and then Leolin Zas over in the corner.
The collect and then the offload by Gelant is sorcery. Wizardry. Hocus Pocus Magic-ery. pic.twitter.com/x3MSovyoQu
— A-P (@rugby_ap) April 22, 2022
That’s what happens when you kick on @WarrickGelant. Slick counter-attack ends in a try for Herschel Jantjies on his birthday.
— DHL Stormers (@THESTORMERS) April 22, 2022
That put the Stormers in the driver’s seat and while they lost some momentum behind the replacement front row in the final 20 minutes, Evan Roos powered over in the final minute of play to secure the all-important bonus-point try.