It wasn’t a great spectacle, but DHL Stormers Coach Allister Coetzee called the 27-17 win over the Lions, “one of the most important and best wins of the season”.
The Stormers went into the game with a number of key injuries including those to Burger, Vermeulen, Koster, Carr and Etzebeth and had Elstadt unavailable due to suspension. In addition Pietersen and Habana were withdrawn with flu and a call was made directly before the game on the availability of Malherbe and Francis who also had bouts of flu.
Given the injuries, included in the 22, were first cap Tyrone Holmes and first time starter Don Armand with Marcel Brache who also had not played a game on the bench. During the game replacement Danie Poolman pulled a hamstring and was himself replaced by Marcel Brache forcing a move of captain Jean De Villiers to wing. Brok Harris who broke his nose was also replaced.
“It was win against a tough side – a side a lot of people write off, but one that was good enough to beat the Sharks in their last outing” said the coach. “With all the injury disruptions this week and the flu, it was a good win, ugly, but one of the wins of the season for me. It speaks volumes about the character and depth in this side and the ability of youngsters to step up and play as a unit. This team has character and never say die attitude, whatever obstacles are put in their path.”
The DHL Stormers have now won 12 from 14 starts, top the SA Conference and are second to the Chiefs on the overall log. Next up the Cheetahs in Bloem.
Stormers –Tries: Gio Aplon, Jebb Snclair, Gerhard Jacobus van den Heever, Conversions: Peter Grant(3). Penalties: Peter Grant(2)
Lions –Tries: Josh Strauss, Franco van der Merwe. Conversion: Elton Jantjies(2). Penalty: Elton Jantjies.
Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Danie Poolman, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Siya Kolisi, 7 Don Armand, 6 Tyrone Holmes, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Deon Carstens. Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Quinn Roux, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Louis Schrueder, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Marcel Brache.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthonie Volminck, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Michael Bondesio, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Ruan Combrinck.
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina), Jason Jaftha (South Africa)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)