The DHL Stormers suffered a last-gasp 24-26 Super Rugby defeat to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Cheetahs kicker Burton Francis landed a penalty goal in injury-time to hand the DHL Stormers a second successive defeat – having lost, narrowly, at home to the Crusaders last Saturday.
The Stormers led 15-7 at half-time, thanks to two well-taken Juan de Jongh tries, but the Cheetahs made the first move early in the second half through an opportunistic Sarel Pretorius try.
Francis converted from touch, to make it 17-15 to the Cheetahs, and the second half became a ding-dong affair as kickers Francis and the Stormers’ Joe Pietersen traded penalties.
Former Stormer Francis booted his team into the lead at 23-21, via a drop-goal in the 67th minute, but Pietersen put his team back ahead at 24-23 with five minutes left.
The stadium clock hit 80 minutes with the Stormers ahead 24-23, but the Cheetahs worked their way into the Stormers’ half and won a close-range penalty in the 84th minute, a tough-call at the tackle situation, which Francis landed for the win – the Cheetahs’ first over the Stormers since 2007.
A disappointed DHL Stormers captain Jean de Villiers said afterwards: “We were beaten by a better side tonight – I guess that last penalty could’ve gone either way, but that’s rugby… that’s how it goes sometimes.
“We’re looking a bit thin, injury-wise at present, but we need to bounce back next week (against the Sharks). I guess it’s all must-win from here, but it’s also about (us) progressing as a team.”
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Ebersohn, Pretorius
Cons: Francis 2
Pens: Francis 3
For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: De Jongh 2
Pens: Pietersen 4
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Rynhardt Landman, 19 Johannes Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
DHL Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Joe Pietersen, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Damian de Allende.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)