The DHL Stormers retained their unbeaten run in the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby tournament with a thrilling 22-19 come-from-behind win over the Lions in Johannesburg.
Having trailed for most of the match, a late Siya Kolisi try and some absolutely incredible defence in over-time helped the Men from the Cape to their third win in succession.
Inside centre Damian de Allende – the official Vodacom Man of the Match – made two try-saving tackles in the space of one minute as the visitors finished Week Three in second place on the overall log (and in first place on the SA Conference) as one of just three unbeaten teams remaining in the competition.
Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis kicked five from five to keep his team in the match, as they trailed the Lions by 9-13 at half-time and 15-19 going into the final ten minutes.
Kolisi’s try – from a powerful rolling maul – three minutes from time saw the DHL Stormers take the lead for the first time in the game and replacement flyhalf Kurt Coleman landed an incredible touchline conversion to keep the DHL Stormers three points up, at 22-19, with just two minutes left on the clock.
The Lions missed a late drop-goal to level things and a final DHL Stormers restart – which went very deep – saw the Lions launch a counter-attack from deep, eventually taking the ball through over 20 phases.
They won kickable penalties but kept going for the try (in search of a win – not a draw), on one such occasion De Allende managing to dispossess an attacking Lions player over the goalline.
It was a truly gutsy performance from this very young DHL Stormers team who have now won away from home twice this year and will return home to DHL Newlands to host the Sharks next Saturday.
For the Lions:
Pens: Jantjies 4
For the DHL Stormers:
Pens: Catrakilis 5
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Howard Mnisi.
DHL Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh (vice-captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)