The DHL Stormers suffered a 22-35 Vodacom Super Rugby defeat on the road to the Cheetahs on Saturday night.
The visitors, fresh off their deserved 18-3 win over the Lions in Cape Town last weekend, started like a house on fire as flanker Nizaam Carr dived over for a try under the uprights – a great build-up and adventurous play being rewarded.
Flyhalf Peter Grant made no mistake with the simple conversion and the selfsame Grant made it 10-0 just a few minutes later with a well-taken penalty goal, only for the Cheetahs to hit back quickly with three tries, by Hennie Daniller, Rayno Benjamin and Willie le Roux.
The Cheetahs led 20-10 at half-time, but it was still anyone’s game at that stage, with Elgar Watts adding a penalty in the 56th minute – the first points of the second half – to make it 23-10 ahead of the advent of the final quarter.
Debutant starter Devon Williams made his presence felt with a typically electrifying finish after a great break from captain Jean de Villiers and a good try-scoring pass from fullback Jaco Taute.
Grant was not able to convert, but the DHL Stormers were within striking distance with the score at 15-23 after 61 minutes – that also after the Stormers had a Juan de Jongh try disallowed just two minutes earlier for alleged obstruction on a Cheetahs defender in the lead-up.
The Cheetahs, however, had the last laugh with the DHL Stormers strong on attack. The ball was knocked backwards by Heinrich Brüssow (the official Man of the Match) in their 22-metre area and replacement back Cornal Hendricks chipped ahead and collected the ball for a crucial score with just nine minutes remaining.
Replacement prop Trevor Nyakane hammered the final nail in the Stormers’ coffin with a powerful surge over the goalline from close-range four minutes later, but centre De Villiers did manage one final five-pointer for his side before the full-time whistle.
De Villiers summed things up afterwards, saying: “Credit to the Cheetahs – they’re a dangerous team and we gifted them too many turnovers.”
The DHL Stormers will return to Cape Town on Sunday and begin preparations for their next home encounter against the Highlanders (Saturday, May 3 – 15h00). (TICKET INFORMATION HERE!)
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Daniller, Benjamin, Le Roux, Hendricks, Nyakane
Cons: Watts 2
Pens: Watts 2
For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: Carr, Williams, De Villiers
Cons: Grant, Coleman
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Johannes Prinsloo, 7 Jean Cook, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Walter Vermeulen, 20 Oupa Mohoje, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Riaan Smit, 23 Cornal Hendricks.
DHL Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Devon Williams, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (vice-captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Michael Rhodes, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Kobus van Wyk.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Francois de Bruin (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)