The DHL Stormers maintained their recent dominance over the Sharks in Vodacom Super Rugby derbies when a Peter Grant penalty two minutes from time earned them a hard fought 15-12 win at Newlands on Saturday.
The visitors had the better of the first half exchanges and would probably have been disappointed to only be 9-6 ahead at halftime. The DHL Stormers however showed why they have been one of the most frugal teams over the last few years, with their scramble defence keeping the Sharks outside backs at bay.
The DHL Stormers put the pressure on in the second half, forcing the Sharks into and took a 12-9 lead thanks to the book of the returning Grant with 20 minutes left.
When Lambie drew the scores level with just six minutes left a draw looked the likely result in this low scoring match. However the DHL Stormers weren’t finished, they dug deep, and their forwards produced an awesome scrum that turned over Sharks ball and set up the attack that eventually saw the Sharks concede a penalty on the touchline.
So Grant, for the second time in 12 months, found himself kicking for a win in his first match back in DHL Stormers colours after returning from Japan and playing from the bench. Last year it was the Lions who suffered, and this time it was the Sharks who must have known their fate the moment his trusty boot struck the ball. It was enough to pull off a tight victory over their local rivals.
Bismarck du Plessis played his best game for a while and was responsible for a couple of turn-overs, Marcell Coetzee is a good prospect as a loose-forward, while on the Stormers side the young prop Steven Kitshoff and equally green lock Eben Etzebeth further enhanced reputations that started burgeoning during last week’s win against the Hurricanes.
The Sharks return to Durban to face the Lions next week with two away defeats on their record and under early pressure in the competition whereas the Stormers take their bye knowing that they have done what was expected of them in this initial part of the Super Rugby campaign. Up next for our boys is the Blues in a fortnight’s time who travel to Loftus next week on the back of two straight defeats in New Zealand.
DHL Stormers – Penalties: Joe Pietersen (3), Peter Grant (2).
Sharks – Penalty: Pat Lambie (4).