The DHL Stormers claimed a hard-fought 21-19 win against the Cell C Sharks at FNB Stadium on Vodacom SuperHero Sunday.
The two coastal teams scored three tries each in an entertaining encounter, as the DHL Stormers ended their pre-season preparations on a positive note.
Their next assignment will be the opening game of the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season against the Hurricanes at DHL Newlands on Saturday, February 1.
The DHL Stormers made a positive start, taking the game to the opposition and testing the Cell C Sharks out wide. Skipper Siya Kolisi was put into space by a cut-out pass from flyhalf Damian Willemse, but his offload in the 22 to wing Sergeal Petersen went to ground.
The DHL Stormers’ defence then had to stand up and they managed to repel a couple of Cell C Sharks mauls and scrums in their 22. The Durban side looked to have scored the first try, but wing S’bu Nkosi lost control of the ball in the act of grounding it after taking it on the blindside of an attacking scrum.
The DHL Stormers would be first to score when scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies showed great awareness to skip through a gap after taking the ball from the back of an attacking maul following an extended period of pressure in the opposition 22.
The Cell C Sharks got on the scoreboard through a quickfire counter-attack, with wing Makazole Mapimpi collecting a chip ahead to score in the corner.
An intense opening half ended with the DHL Stormers leading 7-5, but the Cell C Sharks took the lead for the first time after 48 minutes, when Mapimpi ran in his second try.
However, they did not have the lead for long as Jantjies grabbed his brace with a well-read intercept, to put the DHL Stormers 14-12 ahead with 30 minutes left.
They extended that lead when replacement scrumhalf Godlen Masimla finished off a sweeping backline move after Petersen had made a telling break.
The Cell C Sharks had the final say with a try from replacement centre Marius Louw, but the DHL Stormers managed to hold on at the end to finish their pre-season on a winning note.
For DHL Stormers:
Tries: Jantjies 2, Masimla
Cons: Willemse 2, Du Plessis
For Cell C Sharks:
Tries: Mapimpi 2, Louw
Cons: Bosch, Chamberlain
DHL Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Siya Kolisi (captain), 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 David Meihuizen, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Thys Kitshoff, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 24 Seabelo Senatla, 25 Michal Hazner, 26 David Kriel.
Cell C Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Henco Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Dylan Richardson, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Ruben van Heerden, 21 James Venter, 22 Tera Mtembu, 23 Sanele Nohamba, 24 Boeta Chamberlain, 25 Jeremy Ward, 26 Marius Louw, 27 Madosh Tambwe, 28 Lwazi Mvovo