DHL Stormers Flashback: Newport night to remember

PUBLISHED: May 8, 2024

Two tries by Leolin Zas steered the DHL Stormers to their first-ever win in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship during the 2021/22 campaign as they beat the Dragons 24-10 in Newport.

The eventual champions produced a composed performance to erase a seven-point deficit at Rodney Parade, combining territorial and possession dominance with superb defence to finish their four-match tour on a high.

The DHL Stormers trailed 10-9 after a frustrating first half, but the tables turned in the second 40 minutes as they applied pressure off the ball and in the scrums, and the rewards followed with Manie Libbok slotting his fourth penalty goal, while Zas twice crossed the tryline to hand them victory.

Fullback Warrick Gelant, too, was in a class of his own, and his well-executed 50:22 kick put the DHL Stormers in a favourable position that resulted in a Libbok penalty to give them the lead for the first time in the match.

The momentum swung in the 20th minute when DHL Stormers captain Salmaan Moerat was controversially yellow-carded for what the match officials deemed a high tackle, and the Dragons took advantage with fullback Josh Lewis going over for the first try.

The conversion and a penalty five minutes later extended Dragons’ advantage, but the DHL Stormers finished the first stanza strongly with two quick-fire Libbok penalties.

But in a one-sided second half, the DHL Stormers kept the Dragons scoreless and scored 15 unanswered points in the final quarter of the game to secure their maiden win of the tournament.

First, a Gelant grubber was gathered by Zas for the Capetonians’ opening try, and then the winger turned defence into attack when a Dragons scrum in the 22 was swivelled. Zas kicked long and chased down the ball to complete his brace at the death.