The DHL Stormers’ participation in the Vodacom Super Rugby series for 2015 came to an end – against the Brumbies – at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
The Capetonians, South African Conference winners for the third time in five years, were beaten 39-19 by the Brumbies, which saw the two-time champions from Canberra advance to the semifinals.
It wasn’t a great ending to the season for the DHL Stormers, but ultimately they were beaten by a team that outscored them by six tries to one, with Brumbies winger Joe Tomane collecting a hat-trick and their No.8 Ita Vaea a brace of tries.
The Brumbies will now travel to Wellington to face the Hurricanes, while the Waratahs will host the Highlanders in the other semifinal after the team from Dunedin edged the Chiefs by 24-14 in the first Qualifier.
2015 Vodacom Super Rugby Semifinals:
Hurricanes v Brumbies
Date: Saturday, June 27
SA time: 09h35 (SA time)
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Waratahs v Highlanders
Date: Saturday, June 27
SA time: 11h55 (SA times)
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
DHL Stormers 19 (6) Brumbies 39 (24)
A hat-trick of tries for Brumbies winger Joe Tomane in the first half-hour of their Vodacom Super Rugby Qualifier against the DHL Stormers at DHL Newlands in Cape Town set the tone for the visitors to advance to their third consecutive semifinal.
It was also the second time in three years that the Brumbies travelled to South Africa for a play-off match and returned to Australia with a famous win after they eliminated the Vodacom Bulls in the semifinals in 2013.
Tomane opened the scoring in the fourth minute and added two more tries in the 15th and 25th minutes as the Brumbies raced to a commanding lead.
The DHL Stormers though started finding their feet, but they conceded too many turnovers and lost too many line-outs to make it count.
With the home team hot on the attack late in the first half, they lost possession of the ball in the Brumbies’ half. The visitors kicked out and from the resulting line-out, which the DHL Stormers failed to control, the team from ACT scored their fourth try, courtesy of burly No.8 Ita Vaea, to go into the break leading by 24-6.
The Capetonians started the second half in much better form as they managed to hold on to possession better. When Cheslin Kolbe intercepted and scored after a 60m run, and Demetri Catrakilis added the conversion and his third penalty goal, the deficit was reduced to 24-16 with 30 minutes left on the clock.
Despite a commanding scrum, the DHL Stormers could not build on this momentum though and when Vaea crossed for this second try in the 63rd minute, the mountain the home team had to scale simply became too steep.
Jesse Mogg rubbed salt into the DHL Stormers’ wounds with his team’s sixth try at the death as the home team lost and conceded more than three tries at home for the first time since 2009.
DHL Stormers: Try: Cheslin Kolbe. Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis. Penalty goals: Catrakilis (4).
Brumbies: Tries: Joe Tomane (3), Ita Vaea (2), Jesse Mogg. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (3). Penalty goal: Lealiifano.
Other result – Qualifiers:
Highlanders 24 Chiefs 14 (Dunedin)
Highlanders: Tries: Waisake Naholo (2). Conversion: Lima Sopoaga. Penalty goals: Sopoaga (4).
Chiefs: Try: Brodie Retallick. Penalty goals: Andrew Horrell (2).