The DHL Stormers made it two from two in the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby season with a 27-16 win over the Blues at DHL Newlands.
The hosts scored two tries one as they backed up their excellent away win in Pretoria last Saturday to move into first position on the log (on points’ difference), as one of just four unbeaten teams in the competition after two weeks of action thus far in 2015.
The Blues were first on the scoreboard through flyhalf Ihaia West in the fourth minute, but that penalty goal was cancelled out by DHL Stormers points-machine Demetri Catrakilis, who opened his – and his team’s – account one minute later to leave the score at 3-3.
Thereafter it was all the DHL Stormers and that pressure eventually told when birthday boy and scrumhalf Nic Groom dived over for a try to make it 8-6 – that after West had just doubled his team’s score with his second penalty goal of the day.
The next bit of action saw the Blues lose lock Hayden Triggs to a red card for an off the ball punch on Duane Vermeulen and the hosts eventually punished them for that when slippery left-wing Dillyn Leyds notched up for his second try in two weeks – like last week pouncing on a poor kick from the opposition before speeding away down the left-hand touchline.
Leyds showed great aerial skills and a keen eye for a gap before pinning his ears back and racing away for a crucial score with the half-time hooter in sight. Catrakilis converted and then landed his second penalty goal on the stroke of half-time, handing the hosts a comfortable 18-6 lead at the break.
At that stage it safe to assume a DHL Stormers victory, the only question was by how much…
To their credit, the Blues never let the DHL Stormers pull away but the hosts kept the scoreboard ticking over through Catrakilis and despite a Blues try in the 51st minute – which narrowed the scoreline to 21-16 at one stage – the DHL Stormers always had too much of a lead to feel too threatened.
Catrakilis landed a penalty in the 56th minute to make it 24-16 and by the time replacement Kurt Coleman landed a kick two minutes from full-time – to make it 27-16 – there was always going to be only one winnner in this physical fixture.
DHL Stormers tighthead prop Vincent Koch walked off with the official Man of the Match Award, with Catrakilis finshing with a points-haul of 14 – backing up his 13 points from last week in Pretoria.
For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: Groom, Leyds
Pens: Catrakilis 4, Coleman
For the Blues:
Pens: West 3
DHL Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Siya Kolisi, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Hamish Northcott, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Luke Braid, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Lolagi Visinia.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)