The Vodacom Stormers failed to live up to the promise of last Saturday’s performance against the Hurricanes when they went down 26-13 to the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday.
The Brumbies led 14-6 at halftime of this Super 14 match.
The Stormers didn’t vaguely resemble the team that played so well to trounce last season’s beaten finalists last Saturday. Their tackling in particular was awful and they missed too many important tackles to really pose a threat to the Brumbies.
The return to the action of centre Stirling Mortlock and wing Clyde Rathbone made a huge difference to the Brumbies and they suddenly looked like the force of old. Their attacking and recycling skills kept the Stormers busy all day long.
The Brumbies showed their intent right from the start, keeping the Cape visitors under pressure for the first seven minutes. In the 10th minute they got the scoreboard ticking when big lock Mark Chisholm scored after Julian Salvi charged down a kick from Peter Grant.
Mortlock added three penalties in the first half and Grant answered with two to make the halftime score 14-6.
From the 24th minute the Stormers had to do without No 8 Justin Melck, who spent 10 minutes in the sin bin after repeated ruck infringements by his team.
The Brumbies had a great start to the second half with Mortlock using his power to great effect in the 45th minute to score after Chisholm ripped open the defence on a powerful run.
Five minutes later fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper made a mockery of the Stormers defence to score a brilliant individual try. Mortlock converted (26-6).
The Brumbies enjoyed territorial advantage for most of the second half and made most of the play in pursuit of the fourth try for the bonus point. It was not to be though as Gio Aplon intercepted the ball on his try-line in the 81st minute to score the visitors’ only try.
The Stormers now have to regroup before taking on the Waratahs in Sydney next weekend.
Brumbies – Tries: Mark Chisholm, Stirling Mortlock, Adam Ashley-Cooper; Conversion: Stirling Mortlock; Penalties: Stirling Mortlock (3).
Vodacom Stormers – Tries: Gio Aplon; Conversion: Peter Grant; Penalties: Peter Grant (2).