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Mngomezulu steers Stormers to bonus-point win

MATCH REPORT: The Stormers kept their flawless United Rugby Championship start intact with a hard-fought 37-20 bonus point win over Zebre on Saturday in Parma.


The match was evenly poised however a very effective Stormers maul aided by the boot of Sacha Mngomezulu made sure the South Africans open their tour with a win

*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!

The Stormers looked like cruising to victory as they opened up a 17-0 lead with tries from Junior Pokomela and Neethling Fouche but Zebre fought back to within three points after Chris Cook and Ion Neculai touched down on either side of the break.

Herschel Jantjies re-established a cushion when he went over 10 minutes into the second half after being teed up by Mngomezulu.

The 20-year-old centre, who also kicked 17 points, then rounded off his performance by crossing for a deserved try to wrap up the bonus point late on.

Tiff Eden kicked 10 points for Zebre, who remain winless.

The Stormers took less than five minutes to open the scoring, with Pokomela touching down from a lineout maul.

Despite the presence of last season’s top points scorer Manie Libbok, kicking duties were handed to Mngomezulu, who made no mistake with the conversion.


Mngomezulu added a penalty 10 minutes later and Zebre’s first real attack came to nothing after Eden overcooked a cross-field kick.

Simone Gesi was penalised for a push on Libbok as he attempted to chase down his own chip and the hosts lost full-back Jacopo Trulla to injury six minutes from half-time.

Trulla’s departure was quickly followed by a second Stormers try, with Fouche crashing over under the posts following a useful carry from Pokomela.

Mngomezulu added the extras and the game looked to be getting away from Zebre but Cook crossed from close range before the break and Eden converted to make it 17-7.


Zebre have made a habit of performing strongly in the second half this season and it took Neculai just two minutes to burrow over after the restart, with Eden’s straightforward conversion making it a three-point game.

But some of the hosts’ good work was undone when Mngomezulu punished a loose pass by punting forwards before collecting and sending Jantjies over.

The centre’s conversion made it 24-14 before Eden split the posts with a penalty at the other end and the two kickers exchanged another three-pointer each shortly after the hour mark.

Mngomezulu then sent over another penalty before rounding off an excellent individual display with a try that secured the bonus point and completing the scoring by converting his own touchdown.

Player of the Match

Andre-Hugo Venter deserves a mention for his tireless work in the Stormers’ front row. However our nod goes to Mngomezulu who dictated much of the play. The Junior Bok showed how accurate he is from the tee and also was lethal in open play.

Play of the match

Mngomezulu was the architect of Jantjies’ pressure-relieving try.

He collected his own opportunist punt following a loose Zebre pass and unselfishly fed Jantjies to go over when he might have fancied attempting to finish the job himself.

The scorers:

For Zebre:
Tries: Cook, Neculai
Cons: Eden 2
Pens: Eden 2

For Stormers:
Tries: Pokomela, Fouche, Jantjies, Mngomezulu
Cons: Mngomezulu 4
Pens: Mngomezulu 3


Zebre: 15 Jacopo Trulla, 14 Latu Latunipulu, 13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Damiano Mazza, 11 Simone Gesi, 10 Tiff Eden, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Taina Fox-Matamua, 7 Iacopo Bianchi, 6 Davide Ruggeri, 5 Andrea Zambonin, 4 David Sisi (captain), 3 Ion Neculai, 2 Jacques Du Toit, 1 Juan Pitinar.
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Luca Rizzoli, 18 Matteo Nocera, 19 Gabriele Venditti, 20 Luca Andreani, 21 Alessandro Fusco, 22 Joey Caputo, 23 Lorenzo Pani.

Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Alapati Leiua, 12 Sacha Mngomezulu, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Adre Smith, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Allister Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Dan du Plessis.

Referee: Eoghan Cross (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Dario Merli (Italy) & Alberto Favaro (Italy)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

*Additional source: URC

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