Stormers do the double over Sharks
MATCH REPORT: The Stormers do a clean sweep over the South African opposition with a hard-fought 29-23 win over the Sharks at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
The victory also sees the Stormers beat the Sharks for the second time in a month and strengthen their hold on the second spot in the United Rugby Championship (URC).
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!
The Stormers suffered an injury blow ahead of the kick-off, Dan Du Plessis sustained a head knock and the centre was replaced by Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, while Du Plessis’ cousin Jean-Luc took a spot on the bench.
Despite the changes, the hosts were in control for most of the match, taking a 26-6 lead after 55 minutes.
However, in the closing stages, the Stormers looked rattled as they were down to 13 men with Sazi Sandi and Seabelo Senatla receiving yellow cards.
The Sharks had a chance to snatch a late win but individual errors at vital times proved costly.
Curwin Bosch’s penalty put the Sharks ahead after seven minutes but the Stormers were soon in front.
Fullback Clayton Blommetjies cut a delicious line and centre Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, a late call up following Dan du Plessis’ withdrawal, powered over.
Bosch restored the Sharks’ lead with a simple penalty but the rest of the first half belonged to the Stormers, who dominated up front.
Flank Ben-Jason Dixon was gifted a first URC try from Henco Venter’s wayward pass and Manie Libbok converted.
The Sharks were again the architects of their own downfall when Libbok’s long-range penalty attempt fell short and the visitors carried the ball over their own line.
The Stormers built pressure through a series of scrums and the Sharks defence was opened up as Feinberg-Mngomezulu came in as first receiver.
Libbok arced around him and Blommetjies drifted off his defender to burst through. Libbok added the extras and the Stormers led 19-6 at the break.
The start of the second half was a more even affair with Sharks showing more grunt up front and enterprise behind.
But the Stormers scored their fourth try after 55 minutes following Libbok’s cross-kick.
Angelo Davids slipped and failed to ground but he diverted the ball back into the path of Blommetjies, who dotted down for his second try.
Libbok converted and the Stormers were 20 points ahead but the Sharks were far from finished in their pursuit for a play-off place.
Replacement wing Yaw Penxe pounced after a clever kick and Rohan Janse van Rensburg reduced the deficit further after 65 minutes with a strong run.
Bosch converted to cut the gap to eight points and, after replacement Sandi was yellow-carded, Grant Williams sliced his way past several Stormers defenders for a superb solo score.
Senatla also saw yellow for a cynical trip and the Sharks sensed a historic victory was there for the taking.
But the Stormers saw out the final seven minutes with clever game management and Libbok’s penalty clinched matters.
Player of the match
Fullback Blommetjies was a constant threat in the Stormers attack, setting up a try for Feinberg-Mngomezulu before scoring twice himself.
Play of the match
The Sharks finished strongly and Williams produced a wonderful individual score to put the contest in the balance.
The scrumhalf, spotting a gap in broken play, stepped on the gas to jink past home defenders with ease.
Tries: Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Dixon, Blommetjies 2
Cons: Libbok 3
Tries: Penxe , Janse Van Rensburg, Williams
Pens: Bosch 2
Yellow cards: Sazi Sandi (Stormers, 71 – deliberate foul play, slowing down the game); Seabelo Senatla (Stormers, 72 – foul play, tripping an opponent)
Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Marcel Theunissen, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ali Vermaak
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Jean-Luc Du Plessis, 23 Suleiman Hartzenberg
Sharks: 15 Boeta Chamberlain, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Curwin Bosch (captain), 9 Grant Williams, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Henco Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Emile van Heerden, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 2 Fezokuhle Mbatha, 1 Dian Bleuler.
Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Lappies Labuschagne, 20 James Venter, 21 Phepsi Buthelezi, 22 Cameron Wright. 23 Yaw Penxe.
Referee: AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
*Additional Source: @URCOfficial
*Photo credit: @TheStormers