The DHL Stormers scored a 32-18, bonus point win over the defending Vodacom Super Rugby champions, the Waratahs, in Sydney on Saturday.
In one of the franchise’s most memorable Super Rugby wins in Australasia, the Men from the Cape ended a three-game losing streak in fine style as tries by Damian de Allende (two), Kobus van Wyk and Cheslin Kolbe secured the four-try victory.
That leaves the team with six log points from three games on tour thus far with one game remaining in Perth next weekend – meaning the 2011 and 2012 SA Conference winners could still return to Cape Town with 10 or 11 points, in what would be an excellent tour return.
The DHL Stormers, without squad captain Duane Vermeulen – who is at home as part of the SA franchises’ rest agreement with SA Rugby, built their victory around a no-nonsense defensive display with every single player pulling his weight on attack too.
Centres De Allende and Juan de Jongh (captaining the team in the absence of Vermeulen) were the backline heroes, whilst the DHL Stormers forwards (and replacements), as they have done all season, got their hands dirty and delivered another outstanding set-piece display.
De Allende opened the try-scoring tally for his team in the 21st minute, that after flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis had opened his team’s account in the seventh minute, before ‘Tahs winger Teqele Naiyaravoro powered over to make it 5-3.
De Allende’s score, preceded by a second Catrakilis penalty goal, had the DHL Stormers leading by 13-5 up until the 35th minute, before a Bernard Foley penalty and Rob Horne try put the hosts ahead by 15-13 at half-time.
The second half, however, was all the DHL Stormers and the visitors regained the lead in the 47th minute when Kobus van Wyk raced in for an excellent score which started in the DHL Stormers’ 22 from a Kurt Coleman (on for Catrakilis) chip kick, Van Wyk collecting the kick and sprinting away for his team’s second score.
Foley chipped away at the scoreboard with a 58th minute penalty, to narrow the score to 18-20, but the DHL Stormers tackled their hearts out to keep the hosts at bay as the game moved towards the 70-minute mark.
That defensive pressure allowed De Jongh an intercept opportunity which saw him just hold onto the ball and find centre-mate De Allende who handed off would-be defenders before accelerating to the line for a valuable try in the 71st minute.
Coleman converted to make it 27-18 but hot-stepping fullback Cheslin Kolbe sealed the bonus point victory two minutes from full-time with a mazy run from deep in his own half – a run, again, made possible by the suffocating DHL Stormers defence.
“It’s never easy to come to Sydney and beat the defending champions and get a bonus point as well,” a proud DHL Stormers skipper Juan de Jongh told reporters afterwards.
“It was a committed performance and our defence was rock-solid (and) that gave us the front-foot ball we needed to score some lovely tries.”
The win, the DHL Stormers’ fifth of the 2015 season and their first over the ‘Tahs in Sydney since 2007, saw them move back to the top of the South African Conference log for now (with the other four SA teams all in action later today).
For the Waratahs:
Tries: Naiyaravoro, Horne
Pens: Foley 2
For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: De Allende 2, Van Wyk, Kolbe
Cons: Catrakilis, Coleman 2
Pens: Catrakilis 2
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 David Dennis (captain), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mitchell Chapman, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 23 Peter Betham.
DHL Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)