Stormers' second-half show floors Clermont
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: The Stormers booked their spot in the Round of 16 with an emphatic 30-16 win over Clermont on Saturday in Cape Town.
It was a slow start for the side from Cape Town, trailing 3-6 at the break.
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!
However a couple of changes which saw Evan Roos and Herschel Jantjies make their way to the field, eventually made sure the Stormers outscored the French side four tries to one.
Roos, Jantjies, Daniel du Plessis and Deon Fourie scored the tries for the Stormers.
Clermont led for much of the first 45 minutes thanks to Anthony Belleau’s three penalties, but were undone following the flyhalf’s yellow card, Bautista Delguy crossing for their solitary try.
It was a turgid first half at the Cape Town Stadium, with neither side able sustain any meaningful pressure – Stormers flank Fourie was a key figure at the breakdown, as was Clermont counterpart Alexandre Fischer as turnovers regularly halted any attacking progress.
Belleau dispatched two penalties to see Clermont six points clear by the half hour mark, with the TOP 14 side’s robust defence frustrating Stormers.
But the hosts would half the deficit moments before the break as flyhalf Wolhuter, who was off target from range early in the game, nudged over the posts from halfway.
Stormers drew level shortly after the restart as Wolhuter hit the target from the tee again, but Belleau struck an instant response for Clermont after more good work from Fischer.
However, Belleau was then shown yellow on 46 minutes as he was penalised for a deliberate knock-on, and it proved the turning point as Stormers took full advantage of their extra body.
Two replacements notched their first two tries; flank Roos powered over before scrumhalf Jantjies finished well in the corner following terrific work from wing Suleiman Hartzenberg.
And a third score came before Clermont were back to their full complement, centre du Plessis producing a tremendous turn of pace to glide over after a smart offload from hooker Joseph Dweba.
Wing Delguy then hit back for Clermont as he raced clear from inside his own half with an hour played, but Stormers secured the bonus point seconds later as Fourie dotted down amid a driving maul.
Replacement centre Sacha Mngomezulu was yellow-carded for a high tackle late on in a minor blemish on Stormers’ evening, but the South African side will march into the knockout stage in their maiden Champions Cup campaign.
Man of the match: The Stormers’ bench was clearly the game-changer. They added the much-needed momentum. However, our nod goes to Dan Du Plessis, who proved to be a very vital cog in the Stormers’ attack, while his try stole the show.
Tries: Roos, Jantjies, D Du Plessis, Fourie
Cons: J. Du Plessis 2
Pens: Wolhuter 2
Pens: Belleau 3
Yellow card: Anthony Belleau (Clermont, 46 – deliberate knock-on); Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Stormers, 76 – high tackle)
Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Connor Evans, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain)
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Ben-Jason Dixon, 20 Evan Roos, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu
Clermont: 15 Alex Newsome, 14 Marvin O’Connor, 13 Cheik Tiberghien, 12 George Moala, 11 Bautista Delguy, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Baptiste Jauneau, 8 Judicaël Cancoriet (c), 7 Killian Tixeront, 6 Alexandre Fischer, 5 Thibaud Lanen, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Etienne Fourcade, 1 Giorgi Beria
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Boudou, 17 Daniel Bibi Biziwu, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Miles Amatosero, 20 Lucas Dessaigne, 21 Sébastien Bézy, 22 Gabin Michet, 23 Francois Mey
Referee: Christophe Ridley (England)
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce (England), Jamie Leahy (England)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)
Photo credit: @TheStormers