Brave DHL Stormers denied in Leicester

PUBLISHED: December 10, 2023

The DHL Stormers fought hard throughout, but ultimately went down 35-26 in their Investec Champions Cup clash with Leicester Tigers at Mattioli Welford Road on Sunday.

It was a brave performance from the visitors, but a late try denied them what would have been a deserved bonus point on the road.

The teams traded penalties early on in a match characterised by physical intensity from the start.

The home side got the first try when inside centre Solomone Kata went over after a dominant five-metre scrum.

Those were to be their last points of the first half though, as the DHL Storers fought back and responded with two tries of their own.

The first was also off a five-metre scrum, with No.8 Keke Morabe taking it off the base and surging over.

The next came just before half-time, when scrumhalf Paul de Wet toed a loose ball ahead and won the race before offloading to wing Courtnall Skosan to score.

That saw the visitors take a 17-10 lead into the break against all expectations.

Leicester started the second half with a penalty from Handre Pollard and then followed that up with a second try from Kata to take the lead back.

The DHL Stormers were back on level terms when debutant flyhalf Jurie Matthee coolly slotted a drop-goal and there were penalties from both flyhalves after that to make it 23-23 on the hour mark.

The visitors were down to 14 when replacement prop Lee-Marvin Mazibuko was shown a yellow card for a tackle on Jasper Wiese’s shoulder. Leicester made use of the extra man to put Pollard over for a try to take the lead back.

The DHL Stormers refused to give in and won another penalty, which Matthee slotted to bring them within four points heading into the last 10 minutes.

The visitors had a chance to win it at the death with a scrum in the 22, but it was not to be as Leicester would have the final say with a try from Josh Bassett, which denied the DHL Stormers what would have been a deserved bonus point.

The scorers:

For DHL Stormers:
Morabe, Skosan
Cons: Matthee 2
Pens: Matthee 3
DG: Matthee

For Leicester Tigers:
Kata 2, Pollard, Bassett
Cons: Pollard 3
Pens: Pollard 3

DHL Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 12 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Jurie Matthee, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Keke Morabe, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 Connor Evans, 4 Hendre Stassen, 3 Brok Harris (captain), 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16: JJ Kotze, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Dylan Sjoblom, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Stefan Ungerer, 23 Cornel Smit.