The DHL Stormers moved back to the top of the South African Super Rugby Conference log with a deserved 31-15 win over the Rebels from Australia at DHL Newlands on Saturday night.
The hosts led by 18-7 at half-time to register their ninth win of the season – a valuable victory with just three regular-season matches remaining in 2015.
The DHL Stormers will host the Cheetahs back at DHL Newlands next Saturday (May 30), before entertaining the Lions on June 6 and finishing their league fixtures against the Sharks on June 13.
Tonight’s win was made possible by tries from inside centre Damian de Allende and right-wing Dillyn Leyds, the latter crossing for valuable tries either side of half-time, with flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis missing just one shot at goal to end with 16 points from his deadly boot.
De Allende’s try came after a bright start from the home side was turned into scoreboard pressure, the kick-chase of Cheslin Kolbe – after a good run down the left by Seabelo Senatla – seeing the ball end up in the DHL Stormers’ hands and the burly No.12 diving over unopposed.
Catrakilis converted to make it 10-0 after 25 minutes, before the Rebels hit back with a try of their own through outside centre Dom Shipperley, which was converted by Mike Harris.
Catrakilis extended his team’s lead to 13-7 with his second penalty goal of the night, before Leyds – the official Vodacom Man of the Match – pounced to score an intercept try just on half-time, the hosts having been put deep into enemy territory via a raking Catrakilis touch-finder.
The DHL Stormers’ No.10 opened his team’s tally early in the second half, before Leyds crossed in brilliant fashion in the 47th minute for his second try, courtesy of a brutally powerful DHL Stormers scrum, to put the game out of the visitors’ reach – after Catrakilis’ conversion – at 28-10.
The hosts were unable to cross for a fourth, bonus point try in the end – despite their best efforts – but the win saw them move to 38 points on the log; two points ahead of the Lions and three points ahead of the Bulls.
The DHL Stormers are also third on the overall log, with the Waratahs having kept their noses in front thanks to their win earlier today over the multiple-champion Crusaders.
For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: De Allende, Leyds 2
Cons: Catrakilis 2
Pens: Catrakilis 4
For the Rebels:
Tries: Shipperley, English
DHL Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Juan de Jongh (vice-captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Dom Shipperley, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Cruze Ah-Nau.
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Jordy Reid, 23 Bryce Hegarty.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)