The Investec Stormers came down to earth with a thump on Friday when they lost their Super 12 match to the Chiefs 29-14 in Hamilton.
The Chiefs, showing no signs of jetlag after their South African sojourn, led 15-7 at halftime. They earned a valuable bonus point and are now in a very strong position to qualify for the semifinals.
The Stormers are by no means out of the race, but they did their cause no good by going down in a match they were expected to win. They now need to beat the Crusaders in their last game of their overseas campaign next weekend to make sure they stay in the hunt.
Their final match is in Durban against the Sharks.
After the highs of last Friday’s victory over the Blues the Stormers produced a very poor performance today. They seemed lethargic and there was no inspiration, no buzz about their game. They clearly missed De Wet Barry at inside centre for his tackling and also his ability to keep the defenders busy and create chances for his teammates.
Against the Blues the bounce of the ball favoured the Stormers. However, today was a completely different story, with Lady Luck smiling upon the Chiefs.
The only area of the game where the Stormers had the upper hand was in the set scrums, where they gave the Chiefs a torrid time.
However, too many poor kicks, bad lineout play and a glut of turnovers conceded contributed to the visitors’ demise. Added to that the tackling at times was not up to scratch and scrumhalf Byron Kelleher and No 8 were Sione Lauaki more than a handful on the day.
Chiefs – Tries: Byron Kelleher (13 min), Sitiviti Sivivatu (20 min), Sivivatu (49 min), Derek Maisey (80 min); Conversions: Glen Jackson; Penalty: Jackson.
Investec Stormers – Tries: Marius Joubert (28 min), Hendrik Gerber (86 min). Conversions: Gaffie du Toit (1), Chris Rossouw (1).