Stormers blitz Scarlets for bonus-point win
MATCH REPORT: The defending United Rugby Championship team, the Stormers, restarted their campaign with an impressive 36-19 win over a willing Scarlets outfit in Cape Town on Friday.
Outscoring the visitors by five tries to three, the hosts raced into a 19-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and still held a commanding 29-7 advantage at the half-time break.
Despite putting up more resistance in the second half, outscoring the home side by two tries to one, the Scarlets let themselves down with a rash of errors at crucial stages in the game.
It allowed the Stormers to hang on for a deserved win.
* To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!
Herschel Jantjies, Leolin Zas, Ernst van Rhyn and Hacjivah Dayimani secured a first-half try bonus for the defending URC champions, with Ryan Conbeer’s touchdown the Scarlets’ only response amid multiple wasted opportunities.
Dan du Plessis added the Stormers’ fifth try shortly after half-time, before a brief Scarlets revival saw Tom Rogers go over and Conbeer add his second.
However, the damage had already been done, and Stormers flyhalf Kade Wolhuter ended the match with 11 points from the tee, while Dan Jones and Rhys Patchell kicked two points apiece for the visitors.
Jones skewed a penalty as the Scarlets squandered an early opportunity to go in front, before a subsequent chance to put pressure on the Stormers’ line also went to waste.
The Stormers – without their considerable Springbok touring contingent, which includes the likes of Steven Kitshoff, Evan Roos, Manie Libbok and Damian Willemse – punished those early errors when Jantjies stretched for the line under the posts in the 15th minute.
Wolhuter was left with a simple conversion and was on target again after a loose Scarlets line-out opened the door for the Stormers to launch a rapid counter-attack which was finished off by Zas.
The Stormers had their third try after 22 minutes when Van Rhyn powered his way between two defenders to touch down.
Dwayne Peel’s men saw another golden opportunity go begging before finally getting off the mark when Johnny McNicholl’s evasive run led to Conbeer going over.
McNicholl then produced a superb try-saving tackle to deny Cornel Smit at the other end, but Dayimani soon crossed for the bonus point and Wolhuter’s kick and a subsequent penalty made it 29-7 at half-time.
Du Plessis weaved his way under the posts shortly after the restart, Wolhuter converting, but Rogers’ try eight minutes later suggested there was still some fight left in the Scarlets, with Patchell successful from the tee and Conbeer quickly adding his second.
However, the Scarlets’ fightback fell well short as the Stormers chalked up their fifth win in seven matches.
For the Stormers
Tries: Jantjies, Zas, Van Rhyn, Dayimani, D du Plessis
Cons: Wolhuter 4
For the Scarlets
Tries: Conbeer 2, Rogers
Cons: Jones, Patchell
Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Cornel Smit, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Marcel Theunissen, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Gary Porter, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Alister Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Jacques Kotze, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Kuyenzeka Xaba, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis.
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Jonathan Davies (captain), 12 Scott Williams, 11 Ryan Conbeer, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Tom Price, 4 Sam Lousi, 3 Harri O’Connor, 2 Daf Hughes, 1 Steff Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Taylor Davies, 17 Kemsley Mathias, 18 WillGriff John, 19 Blade Thomson, 20 Tomás Lezana, 21 Archie Hughes, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Steff Evans..
Referee: Eoghan Cross (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Morné Ferreira (South Africa), Paul Mente (South Africa)
TMO: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
* Additional reporting by @URCOfficial