Let’s go Stormers! Let’s Go! The Vodacom Stormers will indeed be going to Soweto next week for a first-ever final date with the Bulls at Orlando Stadium.
The Cape franchise clinched their final berth on Saturday by seeing off a spirited Waratah side 25-6 at a packed Newlands. The Bulls earlier put an end to the Crusaders’ ambition of another final by convincingly beating them in Soweto.
Now South Africans are licking off their lips for a dream final between two old foes.
The Stormers led 13-6 at halftime in Saturday’s clash. They were good value for their win, suffocating the Waratahs with a strong defensive performance. Here little guys such as Gio Aplon and Juan de Jongh set the example with some tenacious tackling.
The Stormers also had a lot of bite on the attack and although they scored only one try the pressure they applied didn’t allow the visitors any breathing space.
It was a real team effort, with everybody contributing to the team’s success. Now they have one more big performance to deliver against the defending champions. The Waratahs had the first opportunity to score points in the 2nd minute after the Stormers were penalized for not releasing the ball on the ground. Flyhalf Berrick Barnes, however, fluffed an easy attempt at goal.
Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant had no such problem when he kicked for posts 6 minutes later. The Stormers attacked fiercely, forcing the Waratahs offside close to their try-line and Grant accepted the three points with glee.
Waratahs flank Phil Waugh was penalized for a transgression at a ruck and Grant beautifully converted to make the score 6-0. Barnes slotted a penalty in the 14th min. after a high tackle from Stormers lock Andries Bekker.
In the 24th min. Barnes coolly slotted a penalty to draw his team level (6-6).
The Stormers supporters then had reason to cheer as inside centre Juan de Jongh magically danced his way pass four defenders to cross on the right hand side of the poles. Referee Mark Lawrence consulted the Television Match Official who declared it a good try.
Grant converted to make the crowd roar again and the home team enjoyed the upper hand at 13-6 after 26 minutes of play.
The flyhalf had a chance to extend the lead in the 45th min. but failed with a kickable penalty attempt. A few minutes later the man called Bash however added three points to his team’s tally with a well-taken penalty (16-6).
Grant hit bulls’ eye with a penalty in the 55th min. after Waugh was penalized for a transgression at ruck time (19-6). Two more Grant penalties ensured coach Allister Coetzee had the luxury of pulling off a number of his senior players in the last ten minutes.
Now South Africa waits in anticipation for Saturday’s showdown in Soweto…
Vodacom Stormers – Tries: Juan de Jongh; Conversions: Peter Grant (1); Penalties: Peter Grant (6).
Waratahs – Penalties: Berrick Barnes (1); Drop goal: Barrick Barnes.