It was pure magic as the Investec Stormers exhibited pure class in demolishing the Blues 51-23 at Auckland’s Eden Park in their vital Super 12 match on Friday.
The Stormers stunned the Blues – and their supporters – by scoring seven tries and earning a bonus point. It was the Cape Town-based side’s second victory on tour after they’ve beaten the Reds in Brisbane last week and they are now in a strong position to qualify for the semifinals.
This was without a doubt the Stormers’ best performance ever on tour and they thoroughly deserved their record victory.
This performance stood in total contrast to the one of last Saturday. This time the Stormers’ tactical kicking was much better and they did not allow the dangerous Blues attackers any room to operate in. The tackling was devastating and some big hits clearly had the Blues nervous.
Blues flyhalf Carlos Spencer was left in a heap on the floor by one punishing tackle from flank Hendrik Gerber and De Wet Barry, Neil de Kock, Quinton Davids, Tonderai Chavhanga and their mates showed absolutely no respect for the ball carriers.
The Stormers also showed what a lethal attacking force they could be with the right kind of possession. Everything worked for them today and all the mistakes that hampered them last week were gone.
The Stormers had a breathtaking start to the game. New wing Tonderai Chavhanga – who took the place of Breyton Paulse – scored in the first minute when he latched onto a grubber kick. The Television Match Official was consulted first and he declared that Chavhanga touched down legally.
The Blues briefly took the lead thanks to a Spencer penalty and a penalty and try by Orene Ai’i, but after that there was only one team on the field and they wore black.
No 8 Adri Badenhorst finished off a stunning movement by the Stormers in the 27th minute before crossing again in the 31st minute after intercepting a Spencer pass and sprinting for all of 75 metres.
Thereafter the livewire Chavhanga crossed for his second to clinch the bonus point. But the Storm was not over yet. Fullback Werner Greeff added another five-pointer before scrumhalf Neil de Kock took the Blues defence for a ride for his try in the 27th minute. There was no coming back from that setback for the home team.
The home team was disrupted by injuries and they had to make some positional changes, with Spencer moving to fullback. But that did not detract from the fact that the Stormers were by far superior on the day.
The win took the Stormers to 28 points on the log, second place behind the Brumbies, and leaves the Blues contemplating also-ran status in the competition.
Investec Stormers 51 – Tries: Tonderai Chavhanga (2), Adri Badenhorst (2), Werner Greeff, Neil de Kock, Marius Joubert, Daan Human. Conversions: Gaffie du Toit (4). Drop-goal: Gaffie du Toit.
Blues 23 – Tries: Orene Ai’i, Rico Gear and Doug Howlett. Penalties: Carlos Spencer and Orene Ai’i. Conversions: Ai’i 2.