The Stormers recovered from a poor start to gain a well-deserved 30-22 win over the Blues at Newlands on Friday evening.
After a nightmarish tour of New Zealand, Robbie Fleck’s troops show fine composure and defended brilliantly to subdue opponents, whose discipline cost them and struggled to deal with Jaco van Heerden’s inconsistent refereeing.
Who was the star in this match?
Stormers skipper Siya Kolisi led from the front in this game, especially in being a nuisance at the breakdown and was rewarded with a try. However, eighthman Nizaam Carr showed an unwanted reputation of disappearing in tight games isn’t quite the truth. He completed an astonishing 17 tackles and held up well as a ball-carrier.
Key themes and events
- Poor execution early on threatened to derail the hosts. Following a yellow for Blues winger Matt Duffie for repeated off-side infringements, the Stormers failed to capitalise on an attacking movement close to the line when they conceded a turnover. It was the type of scoring opportunity you need to take against New Zealand opposition.
- The Blues steadily gained control despite a sluggish line-out and took advantage when Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth lost his temper and went to the sin bin. With visiting prop Charlie Faumuina first drawing three defenders en then floating a lovely off-load, the New Zealanders scored twice.
- However, the Stormers refused to back down from a 3-12 deficit and gained vital momentum when an attacking line-out was patiently used as platform for Kolisi to dive over from close range. The Stormers’ ability to recover quickly from setbacks was a feature of the second half, especially after Sonny Bill Williams’ skill led to the Blues’ third try.
- From 10-19 down, the Capetonians took control by taking control in the collisions, trying to disrupt the set-pieces and taking their chances well. Flyhalf Dillyn Leyds’ quick-thinking from a tap gave the Stormers a crucial lead. Duffie dived on Stormers wing Cheslin Kolbe for a second yellow and his sending-off meant the Blues were fighting a losing battle. That said, replacement Sikhumbuzo Notshe’s try was suspect as he seemed to make a double movement.
- Despite some early odd errors, the Stormers defended superbly in this game, emphatically putting their tackling problems in New Zealand behind them.
Stormers – Try: Siya Kolisi, Dillyn Leyds, Sikhumbuzo Notshe. Conversions: SP Marais (3). Penalties: Marais (3).
Blues – Tries: George Moala, James Parsons, Blake Gibson. Conversions: Piers Francis (2). Penalty: Bryn Gatland.