The DHL Stormers made it two from two at home in the space of a fortnight of Vodacom Super Rugby action, as they claimed a dominant 33-0 win over the Cheetahs at a chilly DHL Newlands on Saturday night.
The hosts went into the game without skipper Jean de Villiers, an 11th-hour withdrawal after feeling some discomfort in his knee earlier in the day, but it did not put them off their game for one minute as they not only kept their opponents scoreless for 80 minutes but also grabbed a welcome four-try bonus point in tough weather conditions.
With flanker Schalk Burger taking over the captaincy and leading from the front in the first half, the DHL Stormers were never under threat from the Cheetahs as they ran into a 15-0 half-time lead en route to their fifth – and most dominant – win of the 2014 season.
First-half tries from Deon Fourie (in the fifth minute) and Kobus van Wyk – who started the match on the right-wing due to De Villiers’s withdrawal, with Damian de Allende starting at inside centre – set the tone and the hosts never looked back.
Fourie’s try came from a vintage rolling maul, the hooker finding his jumper expertly and finishing off with precision, but Van Wyk’s effort was a near-perfect counter-attack, started by Cheslin Kolbe and assisted by Nic Groom, Juan de Jongh, Kurt Coleman and De Allende.
It was the always-impressive De Allende’s cleverly-timed pass which put Van Wyk into space off his wing, but the powerful No.14 still had to finish strongly to touch down for his second five-pointer of the season.
Starting flyhalf Kurt Coleman converted Van Wyk’s try, and also slotted a first-half penalty goal, to put the DHL Stormers ahead by 15-0 at the break.
The second half started without Schalk Burger, the Springbok veteran forced to leave the field with an injury of his own, but the Men in Blue & White took it in their stride once again as they refused to let the visitors breach the gainline.
At the same time, the hosts continued to kick their goals, first through Coleman and then replacement flyhalf Peter Grant, before Siya Kolisi (who had replaced Burger at half-time) rumbled over for the Stormers’ third try with ten minutes left on the clock.
With the win secured, the four-try bonus point was the next order of business, but a late yellow card to Michael Rhodes seemed to have scuppered any hopes of achieving it.
However, replacement winger Sailosi Tagicakibau – a late addition to the matchday 23 in light of De Villiers’s injury – swooped on a loose Cheetahs pass to touch down for the bonus point score in the 77th minute in front of just under 16,000 loyal fans, all of whom defied the poor weather conditions to will their team onto an impressive victory.
Inside centre Damian de Allende walked off with the official Vodacom Man of the Match honours, but it was a superb team performance which saw the visitors come away with the spoils on the night.
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For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: Fourie, Van Wyk, Kolisi, Tagicakibau
Cons: Coleman, Grant
Pens: Coleman 2, Grant
DHL Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger (captain), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Dylon Frylinck, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Johannes Prinsloo, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Willem Serfontein, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Carel Greeff, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Gouws Prinsloo.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)