Thanks to the Stormers’ predictable attacking patterns, the Brumbies bravely held out for a slender 19-17 win in their Super Rugby match at Newlands on Saturday.
The Australian visitors also outscored the Stormers 3-2 in the eventual try count after leading 12-3 at the halftime break.
The Stormers enjoyed an overwhelming share of possession but they failed to capitalise mainly because of a lack of enterprise on the attack.
Right at the start, the Stormers bossed the visitors at the breakdown collisions but the Brumbies sustained their early onslaught with short crisp passes and they managed to stretch the opposition defence.
As a result, the Brumbies breached the defence at the corner flag in the fifth minute when No 8 Pete Samu scored an unconverted try (5-0).
Three minutes later, Stormers flyhalf Joshua Stander goaled a penalty from 40m out to reduce the deficit.
Almost straight from the restart, the Stormers suffered another setback after scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies’ clearance kick was charged down. Brumbies lock Rory Arnold gathered the stray ball some five metres out and crossed the tryline unchallenged.
Brumbies flyhalf Christian Lealiifano added the conversion to open up a nine-point lead in the 12th minute.
The Stormers regained the initiative over the next 16 mins but couldn’t draw advantage after a number of sorties into the Brumbies’ 22m area.
The Stormers were far too predictable on attack and as long as the Brumbies made their first-time tackles their defence remained intact.
After a spate of penalties going their way in the striking zone, the Stormers suffered a fit of white-line fever as numerous attempts to cross the line came to nought.
A handful of 5m line-outs also failed to provide a springboard for the breakthrough.
The Brumbies’ brave efforts of defence over a sustained of time allowed them to keep their 12-3 lead intact by the time New Zealand referee Nick Briant sounded the halftime whistle – or so it seemed, when the Brumbies trooped off to change rooms only to be called back.
Just before the halftime whistle sounded, Jantjies’ was high-tackled a stride or two away from the tryline and once the tackling effort was reviewed, the Stormers were awarded a penalty try.
The offending tackler leftwing Toni Pulu was yellow-carded.
It was much the same story when the game restarted as the Stormers brought off a series of pick and go attempts to score.
It lasted for about six minutes before prop Wilco Louw secured the touchdown. Stander slotted the conversion and for the first time, the Stormers enjoyed the lead in the match.
Just ahead of the hour mark, the 11 000-strong home crowd were on its feet again as Stormers outside centre Ruhan Nel came desperately close to scoring at the corner flag.
However, the lead was short-lived as the Brumbies came good after a strong surge out wide down the right channel. Fullback Tom Banks was the scorer and with Lealiifano’s strike on target, the Brumbies enjoyed a slender two-point lead.
Six minutes later, the Stormers turned down a goalable penalty in favour of a five-metre line-out throw and the ploy failed to pay dividends as they spilt a pass in front of the opposition’s posts as they looked to crack the defence.
The Brumbies produced a strong finish but they couldn’t add to their matchwinning tally.
Stormers – Tries: Penalty try, Wilco Louw. Conversion: Joshua Stander. Penalty: Stander
Brumbies – Tries: Pete Samu, Rory Arnold, Tom Banks. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (2)