DHL Stormers just short against defending champs

PUBLISHED: April 6, 2024

The DHL Stormers fought until the very end but went down 22-21 in their Investec Champions Cup Round of 16 clash with defending champions Stade Rochelais at DHL Stadium on Saturday.

Manie Libbok had the chance to snatch another one-point win with the last kick of the game, in the same way he did in the pool match between the sides, but this time his attempt went just wide.

The home side had the wind at their back in the first half and made it count as they camped in the Stade Rochelais 22.

Manie Libbok kicked an early penalty and they kept the pressure on, with a series of penalties in the 22 eventually resulting in a yellow card for visiting lock Will Skelton.

Libbok kicked the resulting penalty over to make it 6-0 after a dominant opening 20 minutes for the DHL Stormers.

The first try was a real team effort, with Warrick Gelant and Libbok finding space up the middle before captain Salmaan Moerat burst through into the 22 and got it away toscrumhalf Herschel Jantjies to finish between the poles.

That gave them a 13-0 lead at half-time and they added to that with another Libbok penalty early in the second half.

However, the visitors eventually got on the scoreboard as prop Louis Penverne forced his way over for a try in the 50th minute and they followed that up with a penalty soon afterwards to bring them right back in it at 16-10.

The DHL Stormers were being decimated by injuries with Deon Fourie, Ben-Jason Dixon, Hacjivah Dayimani and Moerat all forced to leave the field.

They were put under further pressure when replacement Marcel Theunissen was shown a yellow card and the French side duly scored through captain Gregory Aldritt to take the lead for the first time at 17-16 on the hour mark.

The DHL Stormers looked to have taken the lead back as Damian Willemse went over, but the TMO disallowed the try for a knock-on at a ruck in the build-up.

Instead it was the visitors to score next as replacement prop Joel Sclavi forced his way from close range to take their lead out to six points.

The DHL Stormers refused to say die and a try in the last minute from Suleiman Hartzenberg gave Manie Libbok the chance to snatch another dramatic win, but it was not to be as his conversion attempt went just wide.


The scorers:

For DHL Stormers:
Tries: Jantjies, Hartzenberg
Con: Libbok
Pens: Libbok 3

For Stade Rochelais:
Tries: Penverne, Aldritt, Sclavi
Cons: Hastoy 2
Pen: Hastoy

DHL Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Adre Smith, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Ben Loader