Storm­ers fall to the Chiefs

CityPress - - Sport - CITY PRESS COR­RE­SPON­DENT sports@city­press.co.za

The Storm­ers had a ter­ri­ble sense of déjà vu when they lost a Su­per Rugby quar­ter­fi­nal to the Chiefs for the sec­ond sea­son run­ning at New­lands last night. While the game against the New Zealand side was a hard-fought af­fair in which the fi­nal score was light years bet­ter than the 60-21 thrash­ing from last year, it was scant con­so­la­tion for the Storm­ers, even though it showed that they were clearly ma­tur­ing as a team.

If there is a crit­i­cism of how the hosts played, it would be their fail­ure to cap­i­talise on a pe­riod dur­ing which the vis­i­tors had cap­tain Sam Cane in the sin bin, a pe­riod in which they only scored three points.

But the vis­i­tors de­serve credit for the way they ap­proached the game by hold­ing back at first like most away teams do, strik­ing when they had the op­por­tu­ni­ties and clos­ing the game down when the Storm­ers made a des­per­ate fi­nal run for the spoils.

The re­sult means the semi­fi­nals line-up fea­tures no less than three New Zealand teams, with the Chiefs go­ing back home to play against the Cru­saders in Christchurch and the Lions at home to the Hur­ri­canes.

Like all self-re­spect­ing knock­out games, the first half was a tight af­fair in which both sid­ces hardly ever looked like scor­ing a try, the score­line at the end of the 40 min­utes a Six Na­tions-like 9-3 to the vis­i­tors.

The main rea­son for this was the two sides’ de­fences, which were ef­fec­tive for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. The Chiefs

re­lied on line speed, which rushed the Storm­ers on the ball, which meant they were forc­ing passes in con­tact or sim­ply cough­ing up pos­ses­sion.

The Storm­ers’ pa­tience was also ev­i­dent in at­tack in the sec­ond half, where the Chiefs de­fence fi­nally blinked and they scored the first try of the game – by cap­tain Siya Kolisi in the 45th minute – af­ter un­err­ingly grind­ing through one pick and go af­ter an­other.

But a sign of how tight things were on the day was how the Storm­ers did lit­tle to pun­ish the Chiefs when their cap­tain Sam Cane was sin-binned for a dan­ger­ous tackle on Dil­lyn Leyds. All the Storm­ers got from the 10 min­utes Cane was in the cooler was the three points from the penalty.

PHOTO: ASHLEY VLOTMAN / GALLO IM­AGES

CAPE OF STORMS Solomon Alaimalo of the Chiefs tack­led by Pi­eter-Steph du Toit of the Storm­ers and Oli Keb­ble in last night’s Su­per Rugby quar­ter­fi­nal match at the DHL New­lands Sta­dium

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