A lineout that was never functioning coupled with even poorer defence – mostly in the first half – were the two big reasons why the Stormers went down 45-28 to the defending champions the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday in their Super Rugby match.
With three of their four tries scored by props, the Stormers launched a courageous second half fightback after trailing 31-7 at the break to reduced the deficit to 31-21 by the 50th minute.
However, the Crusaders then pulled away again.
Who was the star in this match?
Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mo’Unga was the architect of his team’s early half blitzkrieg, where they scored four tries. His ability to create space for players like wing George Bridge and fullback David Havilli was notable, while he showed his own scoring prowess in dotting down for his side’s seventh try.
Key moments and themes
- It took only 40 seconds for the Stormers to lose their first lineout, setting the tone for a match in which their platforms were poor. Only seven minutes were needed for the Crusaders to score their opening try, taking advantage of some mediocre Stormers defending.
- The score snowballed quickly to 26-0 for the Crusaders after just 20 minutes after the Crusaders scored three more tries in quick succession by hooker Codie Taylor, flank Billy Harmon on debut and a brilliant one by scrumhalf Bryn Hall after flank Pete Samu bumped off would-be defenders like annoying flies.
- One of the worst sights during the game – for both the Springboks and the Stormers – was the sight of lock Pieter-Steph du Toit leaving the field just before the break on a medical car with possible concussion and a jaw injury after a monster tackle by Mo’unga.
- Their waywardness didn’t mean that the Stormers didn’t create some early opportunities. In the ninth minute, centre Damian de Allende pounced on a loose ball only for Du Toit to drop the ball, while wing Raymond Rhule made a clean break in the 14th only to pass into no-man’s land.
Crusaders – Tries: George Bridge (2), Codie Taylor, Billy Harmon, Bryn Hall, Seta Tamanivalu, Richie Mo’Unga. Conversions: Mo’Unga (5).
Stormers – Tries: JC Janse van Rensburg, Wilco Louw, JD Schickerling, Steven Kitshoff. Conversions: SP Marais (4).