18h45: We are live from DHL Newlands for the DHL Stormers’ opening Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked match against the Emirates Lions. Teams are finishing their warm-ups in perfect conditions, not a breath of wind and just a bit of cloud on top of Table Mountain overlooking the old stadium.
18h58: Captain Siya Kolisi leads the DHL Stormers out at DHL Newlands and we are all set to get going after a seven-month wait between matches. The Faithful will be missed, but it is good to see the team out on the pitch in DHL Stormers jerseys getting ready to start the Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked campaign.
0 – Damian Willemse kicks off, with the DHL Stormers playing from the south end of the ground. The Emirates Lions find touch so the home side set an early maul 40m out.
5 – DHL Stormers with the early territorial advantage, with both teams putting up high kicks in the early exchanges. Breakdown penalty give Emirates Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies a shot at goal and he slots it to put his team 3-0 up.
8 – The DHL Stormers respond with a penalty of their own in front of the poles and Damian Willemse has no problem slotting it to lock the game up at 3-3.
12 – The Emirates Lions come from their own 22 and find some space out wide where they work it to wing Rabz Maxwane who races away for the opening try to put the visitors 10-3 up at DHL Newlands.
18 – DHL Stormers win a breakdown penalty on halfway and Willemse kicks into the 22. They try a move around the front of the line-out but it goes down, so Emirates Lions have to come from their 22 again.
20 – DHL Stormers with another attacking line-out just outside the 22. They are really putting the pressure on the Emirates Lions defence. Warrick Gelant find some space and captain Kolisi comes close but the ball is lost forward just short of the tryline.
30 – DHL Stormers with all of the possession as the Emirates Lions are forced to defend, but no way through yet with handling letting the home side down at key moments.
32- The Emirates Lions have a try disallowed for a forward pass. It came against the run of play again, with centre Burger Odendaal going through, but the TMO rules that the ball went forward. Eight mins before half-time at DHL Newlands and the visitors lead 10-3.
36 – DHL Stormers flyhalf Damian Willemse splits the uprights with a penalty to cut the Emirqates Lions’ lead to 10-6 with four mins left to play before half-time at DHL Newlands.
38 – DHL Stormers have an attacking line-out and set a maul. Bongi Mbonambi peels off but he is isolated just short of the tryline and the penalty is given.
40 – Half-time at DHL Newlands, a tough opening 40 mins for the DHL Stormers with the Emirates Lions scoring the only try so far against the run of play. The visitors take a 10-6 lead into the break. DHL Stormers will want to convert possession and territory into more points.
45 – Second half underway at DHL Newlands. Both teams probing with kciks and looking to play in the right areas.
48 – The DHL Stormers win another breakdown penalty about 40m out in the middle of the field and Damian Willemse steps up to kick it over and reduce Emirates Lions lead to 10-9.
52 – Great defensive pressure from the DHL Stormers and centre Rikus Pretorius grabs the intercept just in front of halfway then races away to score. That puts the home side 16-10 ahead with 28 mins left at DHL Newlands.
60 – DHL Stormers on the front foot again as Willemse kciks to the corner and sets an attacking line-out. The ball is sent wide and they come within a metre, but the ball is spilled and the Emirates Lions can clear it.
63 – A powerful scrum from the home side and Willemse kicks it into the corner again to set another attacking line-out as they keep the pressure on.
65 – The DHL Stormers hammer away in the 22 again. It eventually goes out to Dan du Plessis who spins to score and take the lead out to 23-10 with 15 mins left to play at DHL Newlands.
72 – The Emirates Lions score their second try with Elton Jantjies rounding off another counter-attacking effort to reduce DHL Stormers advantage to 23-17 heading into the final 8 mins at DHL Newlands.
80 – Full-time at DHL Newlands where the DHL Stormers scored two second-half tries to start their Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked campaign with a hard-fought 23-17 win against the Emirates Lions.