Stormers survive Dragons' late surge
MATCH REPORT: The Stormers continue their winning run, beating Dragons 34-26 at the Nelson Mandela Stadium.
The defending champions scored four tries in the first half to secure a bonus point win against the Welsh visitors in an entertaining encounter in Port Elizabeth.
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!
The Dragons fought back with intent in the second half scoring three tries, two of which were converted, to two penalty goals by Springbok flyhalf Manie Libbok, but the strong start by the hosts was enough to seal them the valuable victory.
Flank Junior Pokomela, who was a late inclusion in the team following the withdrawal of Nama Xaba due to injury, dived over in the ninth minute after breaking through a maul close to the tryline, and Libbok added the extra two for a 7-0 lead.
It was largely one-way traffic from thereon in, with Joseph Dweba (hooker) scoring the DHL Stormers’ second try from a powerful rolling maul in the 16th minute, and minutes later, centre Ruhan Nel scored a great try after brilliant running and support play by the DHL Stormers and a wonderful handoff by fullback Clayton Blommetjies.
The hosts continued to apply pressure on the attack, and it was Libbok who earned the fourth try thanks to some hard running and impressive side-stepping five minutes before the break, and the conversion by Blommetjies pushed them 28-0 ahead.
The Dragons responded with a late try by wing Jordan Williams, which saw them trail 28-7 at the break.
The visitors struck first in the second half as prop Aki Seiuli crashed over in the 47th minute, but the Stormers stretched their lead minutes later with a penalty goal by Libbok, which nudged the score to 31-12.
The home side tried hard to make their presence felt on attack as the game progressed, and these determined efforts saw wing Sio Tomkinson (wing) receive a yellow card for obstructing the Stormers on attack in 56th minute.
Libbok took full advantage of this with his second penalty goal, but this was cancelled out by a strong fightback in the final 10 minutes by the Dragons as flyhalf JJ Hanrahan touched down and the successful conversion saw them reduce their deficit to 34-19 with a handful of minutes left to play.
The Dragons added their fourth try of the match from some good forward play in the 74th minute with Josh Reynolds (replacement prop) diving over, and the extra two saw them trail 34-26 in the dying minutes, but with neither team able to add to the score, that ended up being the final score, with the Stormers walking away with the rewarding win.
Man of the match: Clayton Blommetjies produced a very good performance, while Dan Du Plessis is another standout for the Stormers. However, our nod goes to Manie Libbok. Not only was he great from the tee but his runs set up a try and he also scored one.
Tries: Pokemela, Dweba, Nel, Libbok
Cons: Libbok 3, Blommetjies
Pens: Libbok 2
Tries: Williams, Seiuli, Hanrahan, Reynolds
Cons: Hanrahan, Reed 2
Yellow card: Sio Tomkinson (Dragons, 56 – foul play )
Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Tristan Leyds, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Junior Pokemela , 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Kwenzo Blose.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Jacques Kotze, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Deon Fourie, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Kade Wolhuter, 23 Mnombo Zwelendaba.
Dragons: 15 Angus O’Brien, 14 Sio Tomkinson, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Max Clark, 11 Jordan Williams, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty (captain), 7 Aaron Wainwright, 6 Huw Taylor, 5 Sean Lonsdale, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Bradley Roberts,1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 James Benjamin, 17 Josh Reynolds, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Harri Keddie, 20 Ben Fry, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Will Reed, 23 Aneurin Owen.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa), Christopher Allison (South Africa)
TMO: Ben Blain (Scotland)
*Additional source: SA Rugby