Stormers win with try rugby
Despite the Southern Kings looking good at the beginning, unforced errors gave the winners much leeway
The end result might have been a bonus points win and an unbeaten record for the Stormers this season as expected, but that final score might be a little flattering to the winners.
For the first and the third quarter in the game, which was played at Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth, the Kings were competitive, but the Stormers scored six sparkling tries against
The Kings have yet to beat a domestic team in Super Rugby competition.
The Kings’ unforced errors time and again undermined a lively backline featuring the underrated Makazole Mapimpi, Masixole Banda, Malcolm Jaer and Lionel Cronjé.
That cost them, as did the fact that the Stormers had too much ammunition in their talented side. They were clinical in taking their opportunities, despite delivering a rather scrappy performance.
Believe it or not, the Kings had started the game on even terms with their more illustrious opponents – holding their own in the scrums, giving as good as they got in the line-outs by stealing as much as was being poached from them, while openside flank Chris Cloete made his former team-mates’ lives a nightmare in the breakdowns.
With Cloete a menace over the ball, blindside flanker Thembelani Bholi was a pain in the backside going forward, running over poor Nizaam Carr twice in the first half.
Until then, fly half Cronjé was also doing what second-best forwards love to bits from their fly halves – he turned the Stormers around with little grubbers and bigish touch-finders.
But the one thing that always looked suspect was the hosts’ defence structures in that they relied rather heavily on scramble defence. It didn’t take the visitors long to expose that, with winger Dillyn Leyds beating three defenders while Waylon Murray, Cronjé and Jaer took turns watching him dance down the touchline to score.
With that infusion of confidence, the Stormers suddenly found the necessary gears in their set pieces, with a dormant but powerful scrum moving up a gear, and the line-out jumpers finding a way to crack the code of the Kings’ main line-out jumpers, Irné Herbst and Ruaan Lerm.
The Kings made the visitors’ lives easier by kicking away the possession that Cloete got them.
This invited the Stormers to offload either before or in the tackle, and caused Bjorn Basson and Rynhardt Elstadt’s tries in the first half.
EYES ON THE BRAWL Southern Kings’ Chris Cloete knocks down Stormers’ Dewaldt Duvenage during yesterday’s Super Rugby match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium