The 40 000 Vodacom Stormers supporters who came to Newlands on Saturday in the hope of seeing their team victorious in their Vodacom Super 14 match against the Blues had to go home disappointed.
The Blues beat the home side 14-8 in a scrappy match that never reached any great heights. The halftime score was 8-8.
The Stormers, with captain and centre Jean de Villiers in great form, can only blame themselves for this defeat. They created a handful of try-scoring opportunities but their finishing was poor – notably in the 25th and 26th minutes when the final passes couldn’t go to hand.
Hooker Schalk Brits first pierced the defence but his pass to fullback Percy Montgomery wasn’t secure and thereafter De Villiers darted through but his pass to Sireli Naqelevuki was intercepted by a retreating defender.
The home side’s tactical kicking wasn’t up to standard either and so was the protection of the ball at the tackle situation.
The Stormers started the match off at a brisk pace and enjoyed most of the possession and territory in the first half. The Blues looked more threatening when they were in striking distance.
The Stormers nevertheless took the lead via a Peter Grant penalty in the 10th minute. In the 20th minute it was only a desperate tackle from the flyhalf that prevented flank Josh Blackie from scoring.
But the Blues was clinical in their finishing in the ensuing scrum. No 8 Jerome Kaino picked up at the back of the scrum, fed scrumhalf Taniela Moa and the ball went via a skip pass to the right where wing Paul Williams had no problem in crossing the line.
He couldn’t convert from far out, but his team nevertheless had the lead after flyhalf Peter Grant slotted a penalty for the home side in the 10th minute.
The Stormers hit back in the 32nd minute though when scrumhalf Ricky Januarie beat Blues flyhalf Tasesa Lavea in a sprint for the ball after it was kicked ahead and dived over for the home side’s first and only try. Grant failed with the conversion attempt (8-5).
Williams drew the teams level with a well-taken penalty in the 36th minute after Jonathan Kaplan ruled the Stormers’ backline to be offside.
Williams gave his side the lead again with a 40m penalty in the 52nd minute (11-8). In the 57th minute JD Moller left the field for Wicus Blaauw to enter the scene.
De Villiers saved his team in the 63rd minute when he managed to haul in a flying Isaia Toeava after the fullback intercepted the ball and looked on his way to scoring a certain try.
Two minutes later the Stormers had another excellent try-scoring opportunity, but with the defence in disarray wing Tonderai Chavhanga could not hold on to a De Villiers’ pass.
Brian Mujati left the field in the 67th minute and hooker Deon Fourie replaced him, which meant for the rest of the game the scrums were uncontested.
Nick Koster replaced Naqelevuki in the 72nd minute at wing.
Williams slotted another penalty in the 78th minute to basically seal the Stormers fate. The home team desperately attacked in the last minute and Grant was stopped centimeters from the try-line.
Kaplan awarded the scrum to the Blues and scrumhalf Moa kicked it out of play to break the home supporters’ hearts.
Vodacom Stormers – Try: Ricky Januarie; Penalty: Peter Grant.
Blues – Try: Paul Williams; Penalties: Paul Williams (3).