The Investec Stormers staged a strong fight back in the second half of the Super 12 match at Newlands on Saturday to beat the Cats 25-20.
The Cats led 13-0 at halftime, but had no answer as the Stormers – eager to make Breyton Paulse’s final game in the Stormers jersey at Newlands a special occasion – turned on the charm. There was a poignant moment at the start of the game as the little fullback ran out alone to a standing ovation from the 25 000-strong crowd.
After the game Paulse received another standing ovation from the crowd and his team-mates and greeted with one of his trademark flick-flaks.
Paulse was full of running and involved in a lot of the play. On four occasions he came close to scoring a try, but Lady Luck was not on his side.
The Cats started off like a team that meant business and in the 3rd minute centre Jaque Fourie scored what looked like he first try of the game after a clever kick ahead by left wing Chumani Booi.
The Television Match Official, however, had the last say and denied them their five-pointer, ruling that Fourie stepped onto the line before he crossed the try-line.
Then the Stormers went into attack mode and Paulse was twice denied within the space of five minutes.
The Cats, however, fought back and after excellent work by Schak Brits, Cobus Grobbelaar and Willem de Waal, Fourie powerfully crossed the line. This time the try was perfectly legal and Andre Pretorius converted to give the visitors a 7-0 lead after 23 minutes.
Pretorius extended the lead in the 29th min when he slotted a drop goal and in the 35th min he succeeded with a penalty after Stormers No 8 Joe van Niekerk transgressed at a ruck.
In injury time of the first half it was third time unlucky for Paulse as he finished off a great move. The touch judge brought it to the referee’s attention that a Stormers player stepped out of the field of play before the ball went to Paulse.
The Stormers came back with renewed vigour and it was prop Eddie Andrews who got their first try in the 44th minute after a good build-up and a clever pop pass by Bolla Conradie. Gaffie du Toit added two points to make it 13-10.
Five minutes later Du Toit slotted a penalty to suddenly give the Stormers a sniff of the lead at 13-10. In the 53rd minute Pretorius had the chance to increase the Cats lead with a penalty, but he lacked direction.
Much to the disappointment of the loyal home supporters, Du Toit failed with an easy penalty in the 59th minute. That disappointment, however, made way for joy as Gus Theron finished off a move started by a great break from fellow wing Tonderai Chavhanga.
That try handed the Stormers the lead for the first time in the game and the Stormers suddenly stepped up another gear.
Outside centre Jean de Villiers spotted a gap, beat a hapless Cats defender and crossed the line with a flamboyant dive between two more defenders. Du Toit converted to make the score 22-13 with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Du Toit slotted another penalty before Barry Goodes scored a last-gap try for the visitors to make the score-line look a bit more respectable.
Investec Stormers – Tries: Eddie Andrews, Gus Theron, Jean de Villiers; Conversions: Gaffie du Toit (2); Penalty: Gaffie du Toit (1).
Cats – Tries: Jaque Fourie, Barry Goodes; Conversions: Andre Pretorius (2); Penalties: Andre Pretorius (1); Drop goal: Andre Pretorius.