The Vodacom Stormers on Friday night gave their supporters something to cheer about when they beat the Chiefs 21-16 at Newlands in a Vodacom Super 14 match.
The halftime score was 14-13 in favour of the Stormers, who managed their first victory of the competition after defeats in their first two games.
The changes coach Kobus van der Merwe made this week paid off, with the pack looking more solid than before. The change in tactics also worked, with the more direct game keeping the Chiefs on the back foot for big parts of the game.
The Stormers lineout was their main concern on the night, with the home team conceding four balls on their own throw. It was not the prettiest of wins and the Stormers had to dig deep to come out on top, but at least now they can depart for the overseas leg of their campaign with a lot more confidence.
The Stormers surprised when Brent Russell appeared at fullback instead of Conrad Jantjes, who was originally named in the team. Gio Aplon was on the substitutes’ bench.
Jantjes got injured during the warm-up before the match. He pulled a quadriceps muscle.
The Chiefs beat the Stormers 30-20 in their last Super 14 match, played at Hamilton, but on Friday night the home side fought hard to turn the tables. The Stormers have now won six out of their eight encounters with the Chiefs.
The Stormers didn’t have the most auspicious of starts when they lost a lineout ball on their own throw in the first minute. They showed their intentions early on when they applied pressure on the Chiefs defence.
The Chiefs went offside at a ruck and Peter Grant slotted a penalty to give his team the lead in the 8th minute. Chiefs flyhalf Stephen Donald made it 3-3 two minutes later after offside play by Stormers lock Andries Bekker.
Chiefs lock Kristian Ormsby was penalized for a late tackle in the 11th minute and Grant got his team’s nose ahead again (6-3).
They didn’t enjoy the lead for too long though, as their defence was found wanting when the Chiefs attacked.
Centre Niva Ta’auso broke through a feeble attempted tackle from debutant Dylan des Fountain and gave fullback Dwayne Sweeney a free run-in to the try-line. Donald converted beautifully (10-6).
Grant slotted another penalty in the 18th minute to make the score 10-9. The Chiefs were penalized for joining a ruck from the side.
The Stormers scored their first try of the match – and of their campaign – in the 25th minute. It came from a scrum. No 8 Robbie Diack picked up, fed JP Joubert who passed to Russell and the pocket rocket beat one defender before sending right wing Breyton Paulse over the try-line.
Grant couldn’t succeed with the conversion, but the Stormers again had the lead (14-10). In the 29th minute, Schalk Burger was penalized for a transgression in a ruck and Donald slotted the easy penalty to make the score 14-13.
The Chiefs suffered a setback in the 35th minute when lock Toby Lynn received a yellow card for trampling on a Stormers player in a ruck.
In the 40th minute the Stormers won a lineout five metres from the Chiefs try-line and the forwards surged forward with a rolling maul. Captain Luke Watson broke away and dived for the try-line, but the TV match official ruled he didn’t score the try.
A penalty was, however, awarded to the Stormers because the Chiefs transgressed in the maul. Grant failed with his attempt at poles.
The Chiefs regained the lead via a Donald penalty in the 46th minute after the Stormers were penalized for illegal binding in a scrum (16-14). Donald missed a gilt-edged chance to stretch his side’s lead when he missed an easy penalty in the 52nd minute.
The Stormers grabbed the lead again when outside centre Jean de Villiers intercepted Chiefs captain Steven Bates’ pass on the halfway line and cruised through to score under the posts. Grant converted to make the score 21-16.
The Stormers received a knock when flank Schalk Burger was shown the yellow card in the 59th minute for what the referee deemed spoiling tactics.
In the 68th minute De Villiers left the field with a bloodied face. Hooker Tiaan Liebenberg went back, with replacement hooker Schalk Brits slotting in at centre because both the backline substitutes were already on the pitch.
In the 68th minute the Stormers drove the ball over the try-line, but the TV ref again ruled against replacement loose-forward Justin Melck. The Stormers were awarded a penalty and Grant failed with his attempt.
The crowd had something to roar about though when De Villiers and Burger both returned to the action. The Chiefs frantically scrambled to get the winning points in the last few minutes, but the Stormers defence was up to the task.
Vodacom Stormers – Tries: Breyton Paulse, Jean de Villiers; Conversion: Peter Grant; Penalties: Peter Grant (3).
Chiefs – Try: Dwayne Sweeney; Conversion: Stephen Donald (1); Penalties: Stephen Donald (3).
Teams for Newlands:
Vodacom Stormers: 15. Brent Russell (Gio Aplon, 60th min), 14. Breyton Paulse, 13. Jean de Villiers (Tiaan Liebenberg), 12. Corne Uys, 11. Dylan des Fountain, 10. Peter Grant, 9. JP Joubert (Bolla Conradie, 53rd min), 8. Robbie Diack (Justin Melck, 52nd min), 7. Schalk Burger, 6. Luke Watson (captain), 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Gerrie Britz, 3. Brok Harris (Eddie Andrews 67th min), 2. Tiaan Liebenberg (Schalk Brits, 51st min), 1. JD Moller (Eddie Andrews, 53rd min, Schalk Ferreira, 61st min).
RESERVES: 16. Schalk Brits, 17. Eddie Andrews, Schalk Ferreira, 18. Francois van der Merwe, 19. Justin Melck, 21. Bolla Conradie, 22. Gio Aplon.
Chiefs: 15 Dwayne Sweeney, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Niva Ta’auso, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Roy Kinikinilau, 10 Stephen Donald (Murray Williams, 66th min), 9 Jamie Nutbrown (Brandon Leonard, 66th min), 8 Liam Messam, 7 Tanerau Latimer (Marty Holah, 50th min), 6 Steven Bates (c), 5 Toby Lynn, 4 Kristian Ormsby, 3 Ben Castle (Nathan White, 56th min), 2 Tom Willis (Aled de Malmanche, 54th min), 1 Simms Davison.
RESERVES: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Nathan White, 18 Andrew van der Heidjen, 19 Marty Holah, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Murray Williams, 22 Anthony Tahana.
Referee: Paul Marks (Australia).
Touch judges: Brett Bowden (Australia), Willie Roos (South Africa).
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)