The DHL Stormers opened the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby season with a hard-fought 28-20 victory against the Jaguares at a hot DHL Newlands on Saturday.
The hosts outscored the team from Argentina by three tries to two in a lively match, to get their campaign off to a winning start in front of the DHL Newlands Faithful.
The DHL Stormers got on the front foot early on and surged deep into opposition territory, but the ball was lost and instead it would be the Jaguares to open the scoring with a penalty from their flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez.
Despite that early setback the DHL Stormers kept coming and looked to have scored when Cobus Wiese burst through, but he lost control of the ball in trying to ground it over the tryline.
The DHL Newlands Faithful did not have to wait long for the opening try though, as the ball was sent out to Damian de Allende, who straightened the line beautifully to beat a few defenders and go over for the try.
The Jaguares hit back with a long-range penalty from wing Emiliano Boffelli, who knocked it over from the half-way line, but they were reduced to 14 men soon afterwards when fullback Joaquin Tuculet was shown a yellow card.
It did not take long for the DHL Stormers to make their advantage count, as captain Siya Kolisi left a few defenders sprawling in his wake on the way to the tryline.
That saw the home team go into the half-time break with a 15-6 lead which they took out to 22-6 at the start of the second half with a try to new wing Raymond Rhule.
The ball was sent wide from the restart and worked out to Rhule who showed his pace and his class to fly over, with the touchline conversion added by Willemse.
The Jaguares responded with a try from right wing Matias Orlando, but they were on the back foot once again soon afterwards, with the DHL Stormers earning another Willemse penalty to make it 25-13 with 20 minutes left.
The DHL Stormers were forced to defend as the visitors looked for a way back into the game, with hooker Ramone Samuels eventually shown a yellow card.
After a few scrums against seven men the Jaguares were awarded a penalty try, which set up a tense final 10 minutes, but the DHL Stormers were able to hold on for the win, with a late Willemse penalty denying the visitors a bonus point.
For DHL Stormers:
Tries: De Allende, Kolisi, Rhule
Cons: Willemse 2
Pens: Willemse 3
Tries: Moyano, penalty try
Pens: Sanchez, Boffelli
DHL Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Dean Muir, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 George Whitehead, 23 JJ Engelbrecht.
Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertanou, 8 Tomas Lezana, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Felipe Arregui
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Javier Diaz, 18 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Marcos Kremer, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Juan Martin Hernandez, 23 Bautista Delguy.