The DHL Stormers clinched a dramatic 19-17 comeback victory against the Emirates Lions deep in injury time at DHL Newlands on Saturday.
Having trailed the whole match, the DHL Stormers dug deep to fight back and a last-gasp try from replacement scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies saw them claim their first win of the season.
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The opening exchanges were intense, with both teams flying at each other and it was the visitors who drew first blood as flank Kwagga Smith forced his way over for a try after a patient build-up.
The DHL Stormers responded with a penalty from SP Marais, but the visitors would go 14-3 up when their captain Warren Whiteley scored the second try from close range.
Another penalty from the boot of Marais made it 14-6, but the home side were reduced to 14 men on the stroke of half-time, when prop Ali Vermaak was shown a yellow card.
The DHL Stormers started the second half with real purpose and despite being a man down they camped in opposition territory, winning two penalties.
Marais missed the first shot, but goaled the second tovmake it 14-9 with 30 minutes left and the home side back to full strength as big ,ock Eben Etzebeth made his long-awaited return from injury as a replacement.
The fight back continued as a fourth Marais penalty reduced the deficit to 14-12, making it anyone’s game heading into the final 20 minutes.
The visitors scored their first points of the second half shortly after through a penalty from flyhalf Elton Jantjies, but the DHL Stormers kept coming.
The Emirates Lions were down to 14 men when flank Marnus Schoeman was shown a yellow card for numerous infringements in the 22.
The DHL Stormers kept hammering away in the dying stages and deep into injury time Jantjies darted around a scrum to score next to the poles.
The DHL Newlands Faithful erupted as Marais kicked the conversion to clinch a dramatic victory.
For DHL Stormers:
Pens: Marais 4
For Emirates Lions:
Tries: Smith, Whiteley
Cons: Jantjies 2
DHL Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 SP Marais, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Joshua Stander, 23 Dan du Plessis.
Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies 9 Nic Groom, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Rhyno Herbst, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Gianni Lombard, 22 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.