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Scrappy Stormers see off plucky Zebre in Stellenbosch

MATCH REPORT: The Stormers finally returned to winning ways in the United Rugby Championship, but it wasn’t pretty.

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John Dobson’s side scored five tries on their way to an unconvincing 31-7 victory over Zebre Parma in their Round Seven match in Stellenbosch on Saturday.

It was a scrappy performance from the hosts, but with a few World Cup winners in their team they were just too strong for the visiting Italian team

The Stormers had plenty of possession early in the game and they eventually opened the scoring in the 14th minute after a powerful scrum allowed Evan Roos to score the easiest of tries.

Zebre had their fair share of the ball after that and they did trouble the Stormers on a few occasions when their outside backs found some space out wide.

The Italians celebrated a try in the 32nd minute after the Stormers failed to deal with a loose ball in their half. However, there was a clear knock-on earlier in the play and the try was not given.

It was the vision of Damian Willemse that set up the Stormers’ second try in the 37th minute. After a great run by Hacjivah Dayimani, the ball went wide to the Bok, who put in a neat grubber kick with Ruhan Nel chasing and gathering the ball to score a five-pointer.

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However, the visitors had the final say in the first half when Alessandro Fusco darted through the Stormers’ defence after constant pressure inside the home side’s 22.

Giovanni Montemauri added the extra two points and at half-time, it was 12-7 to the Stormers.

The Capetonians looked dangerous with ball in hand at the start of the second half and after some straight running and good passing, the ball found its way to Courtnall Skosan who ran in for his team’s third try.

The Stormers should have scored their fourth try in the 66th minute when Dayimani broke through several defenders on his way to the tryline. However, the No.7 lost control of the ball with the white line just a few metres away.

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However, the Stormers eventually got their bonus point moments later after Leolin Zas broke through Zebre’s midfield to sprint away for a score.

With more space emerging around the park, the Stormers started to look more dangerous and after some quick passing, it was Willemse who weaved his way through the Zebre defence to score his team’s fifth try.

Man of the match: Simone Gesi was a livewire for Zebre and he just made things happen with ball hand. For the Stormers, Hacjivah Dayimani was a powerhouse with ball in hand and he got his team over the advantage line on a few occasions. Damian Willemse also showed his worth with ball in hand and he created and scored a try. However, the award goes to lock Ruben van Heerden who was industrious in the physical exchanges and his line-out work was also great.

The scorers:

For Stormers:
Tries: Roos, Nel, Skosan, Zas, Willemse
Con: Libbok 3

For Zebre Parma:
Try: Fusco
Con: Montemauri

Teams:

Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche (captain), 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Kwenzo Blose.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Clayton Blommetjies, 23 Suleiman Hartzenberg.

Zebre Parma: 15 Geronimo Prisciantelli, 14 Jacopo Trulla, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Franco Smith Jr, 11 Simone Gesi, 10 Giovanni Montemauri, 9 Alessandro Fusco, 8 Taina Fox-Matamua, 7 Bautista Stavile, 6 Guido Volpi, 5 Andrea Zambonin, 4 Matteo Canali, 3 Matteo Nocera, 2 Luca Bigi (captain), 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Giampietro Ribaldi, 17 Luca Rizzoli, 18 Muhamed Hasa, 19 Leonard Krumov, 20 Giovanni Licata, 21 Thomas Dominguez, 22 Gonzalo Garcia, 23 Scott Gregory.

Referee: Eoghan Cross (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Christopher Allison (South Africa), Paul Mente (South Africa)
TMO: Frank Murphy (Ireland)

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