The DHL Stormers recorded a resounding 28-3 victory over the Cheetahs in their Vodacom Super Rugby encounter at DHL Newlands on Saturday evening.
It was a well-deserved win for a fired-up DHL Stormers team which scored three tries to nil and kept the Cheetahs scoreless for 61 minutes of the match, as they claimed their seventh win of the season.
The hosts’ tries were scored by inspirational skipper Deon Fourie, new Springbok flanker – and official Vodacom Man of the Match – Siya Kolisi and record-breaking speedster Bryan Habana.
Fullback Joe Pietersen once again did his bit with the boot and he added 13 valuable points via two conversions and three penalties on an outstanding night for the DHL Stormers, with hooker Scarra Ntubeni, loose forwards Fourie, Kolisi and Nizaam Carr and inside centre Damian de Allende the outstanding players for the victors.
The Cheetahs went ahead in the 19th minute through a Riaan Smit penalty, but Joe Pietersen cancelled that out with his first shot at goal in the 31st minute.
Those three points seemed to click the Stormers into gear and after some more pressure on the Cheetahs line they opted to kick for touch, despite having a kickable penalty on offer.
The faith of captain Deon Fourie was almost instantly rewarded. Hooker Ntubeni – a late starting replacement for Tiaan Liebenberg – found Eben Etzebeth in the line-out, the rest of the pack joined in for a perfect maul and it was the captain himself, Fourie, who crashed over for the valuable try.
Pietersen made no mistake with the conversion from out side and the DHL Stormers were suddenly ahead at 10-3 with half-time just two minutes away.
The half-time hooter sounded with the Stormers up by that same scoreline (10-3) and the hosts never let their opponents back into the contest in the second half.
That man Pietersen kept the scoreboard ticking over with his accurate goalkicking, converting penalty chances in the 50th and 54th minutes.
The Cheetahs, on the other hand, had one penalty miss (by Smit in the 59th minute) to show for their efforts and when crowd favourite Siya Kolisi crashed over in the 65th minute – after running a clever angle from a well-timed Louis Schreuder pass – there was only one winner in this match.
Pietersen converted to put his team up by 23-3 and the 27,000-strong crowd started to liven up somewhat. The big noise, however, was reserved for Springbok star Bryan Habana when he dived in at the left-hand corner in the 71st minute.
The Cheetahs had coughed the ball up in the Stormers’ half, with Juan de Jongh carrying the ball up nicely and replacement Gerhard van den Heever getting tackled short of the 22. Captain Fourie took the ball into the Cheetahs 22, before finding Nizaam Carr who was brought down with the tryline at his mercy. The ball was recycled quickly, however, and Damian de Allende’s excellent pass found a willing Habana.
Pietersen missed his first kick of the night, from far out on the left, but it did not matter for the home side who have now lost just once at DHL Newlands this season as they continue to move up the 2013 Super Rugby standings.
For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: Fourie, Kolisi, Habana
Cons: Pietersen 2
Pens: Pietersen 3
For the Cheetahs:
DHL Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana (vice-captain), 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Deon Fourie (captain), 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Don Armand, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.
Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sarel Pretorius, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Rynhardt Landman, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Petrus Vermeulen, 19 Johannes Prinsloo, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 Howard Mnisi.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)