The DHL Stormers claimed a hard-fought but deserved 24-12 Vodacom Super Rugby win over hosts, the Southern Kings, in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The visitors, unbeaten now in four matches since returning home from tour in May, scored the only two tries of a physical encounter at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – captain Deon Fourie’s try double on the night proving the difference in the end.
The Stormers led 11-9 at half-time, after Fourie’s first try from a rolling maul, and they never relinquished the lead again, with Fourie’s second try, two minutes from full-time, securing the hard-fought victory.
Stormers flyhalf Elton Jantjies kicked three penalty goals – his first points of the season for the DHL Stormers – after fullback Joe Pietersen, in his 50th game for the Stormers, limped off early in the second half with an injury.
There were precious few scoring opportunities in the match, as both teams showed resolute defence, but with Jantjies kicking his goals (and Pietersen missing just one of his two shots at goal), the Stormers were able to convert pressure into points at key moments.
And two of those key moments came just before half-time, when Fourie crashed over from a rolling maul, and shortly before full-time when Fourie ran and twisted his way over the goalline from a long-range maul.
Jantjies converted Fourie’s second try, for a personal points haul of 11 points, whilst captain Fourie again showed his worth for the DHL Stormers with yet another all-action and inspirational performance, which saw him voted as the official Vodacom Man of the Match.
For the Southern Kings:
Pens: Catrakilis 4
For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: Fourie 2
Pens: Jantjies 3, Pietersen
Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss (captain), 11 Michael Killian, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Darron Nell, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Charl du Plessis, 17 Hannes Franklin, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Devin Oosthuizen, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Shane Gates.
DHL Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)