The Stormers inflicted a first defeat of the season on the ACT Brumbies with a 35-22 victory at Newlands on Saturday after the Canberra-based side had pulled to within three points with 10 minutes to play.
However, errors in the closing stages allowed the South Africans to record a bonus-point win in the first away loss for the Brumbies in eight games.
Andries Bekker scored a brace of tries for the Stormers in a week in which he announced he was leaving the franchise for Japan at the end of the Super Rugby season.
“Last week we saw how effective the Brumbies are in the way that they play when they beat the Sharks. To win like that against a quality side was no mean feat,” Stormers captain Jean de Villiers said.
After a Joe Pietersen penalty had put them ahead, the Stormers scored the first try of the game through a superb piece of individual skill from Springbok Gio Aplon.
The winger picked up an inside pass from Elton Jantjies and burst through the Brumbies backline. He still had plenty of work to do as he faced Brumbies fullback Robbie Coleman, but through some brilliant stepping he glided past the final defender and crossed the line unopposed.
Christian Lealiifano put the visitors on the board with a penalty, but incessant Stormers pressure paid off with another try.
Awarded a kickable penalty, the home side opted to put the ball in the corner instead and were rewarded with Bekker mauling over the line.
The Brumbies hit back with a superb try from Henry Speight. The winger took the ball at pace and broke the Stormers line for a converted score.
The hosts extended their lead once more just before halftime when Bekker got his second try. De Villiers picked up the loose ball after a Brumbies’ mistake and burst towards the line.
The visitors scrambled back in defense, but quick ball at the breakdown put Jantjies 5m out with plenty of options to his right. One of those was the giant Bekker and he had to just take the pass and fall over the line.
After trailing 22-10 at halftime, the Brumbies stepped up in the second, led by the brilliant work of flanker George Smith at the breakdown.
He won both possession and penalties for his side, who closed the gap to three points before two Brumbies’ mistakes allowed the Stormers to clinch the match.
The hosts won a lineout against the throw and forced Fotu Auelua into an error at the breakdown that led to a penalty converted by Pietersen.
The Stormers then scored a bonus-point try as Gerhard van den Heever intercepted Peter Kimlin’s wild pass to race in from the halfway line for a converted score.
SHARKS VERSUS REBELS
AFP, DURBAN, South Africa
Coastal Sharks of South Africa scored a record win and Melbourne Rebels of Australia suffered a record loss in a 64-7 Super 15 mismatch at windy Kings Park on Saturday.
The 57-point winning margin of the Durban franchise in this Indian Ocean city easily bettered a 53-11 win over Western Force of Australia last season in the southern hemisphere provincial championship.
Victory came a week after the Sharks sustained a 19-point hiding from table toppers ACT Brumbies of Australia at the same venue, which led New Zealand-born coach John Plumtree to make eight starting line-up changes.
Sharks climbed six places on the table to third after the rout, six points behind Brumbies and four adrift of defending champions Waikato Chiefs of New Zealand.
After beginning the season with a victory over Force, this was the Rebels’ fourth consecutive reverse and it does not get any easier next weekend for the tourists when they meet on-song Central Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
The Australians’ previous heaviest loss was 53-3 against compatriots Queensland Reds and an awful performance in Durban saw them threaten to score for the first time 64 minutes into the match when 64 points behind.