Stormers make it a full-house for South Africa
MATCH REPORT: The Stormers made a full-house of four-from-four wins for South African teams this weekend, as they demolished the winless Zebre 55-7 in a rescheduled United Rugby Championship Round Six match in Stellenbosch on Sunday.
The Stormers scored five first-half tries for a 33-0 half-time lead and added another four after the break.
Sevens Springbok flyer Seabelo Senatla scored a hat-trick, while fellow wing Leolin Zas and hooker Siyabonga Ntubeni added two each. Centre Damian Willemse and Manie Libbok scored the other tries for the hosts.
Zebre’s South African centre Erich Cronjé scored the visitors’ only try, from a sublime grubber by flyhalf Carlo Canna – who also added the conversion
The victory lifts the Stormers into the URC’s top eight, while Zebre remains winless.
* To recap all the action, CLICK HERE!
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The hosts had a bonus point wrapped up by the 23rd minute at the Danie Craven Stadium, as Manie Libbok, Damian Willemse, Leolin Zas and Senatla all touched down in a blistering start.
Ntubeni added the fifth shortly before half-time, with Libbok converting all but one of those tries.
Erich Cronje stopped the rot by going over for Zebre early in the second period, but Zas and Ntubeni added second scores and Senatla completed his treble, while the visitors had Asaeli Tuivuaka red-carded for a brazen swinging arm to Zas’ head prior to the home side’s final two tries.
Libbok ran in under the posts for the Stormers’ opener in the second minute and Willemse – making his 50th appearance for the Cape Town franchise – raced home for a second six minutes later.
Stormers flyhalf Libbok converted both and was on target again when a third try followed after Ruhan Nel wriggled out of a tackle wide on the left to feed scorer Zas.
A Libbok grubber then drifted agonisingly beyond the grasp of Nel as he looked to wrap up a bonus point that would have fallen only a few seconds short of being the quickest in URC history.
The hosts did have maximum points in the bag in the 23rd minute, however, when Senatla scooped up the ball following some loose Zebre passing and darted over next to the posts, with Libbok making it 28-0.
A fifth try arrived just before half-time, when a line-out maul carried Ntubeni over.
Zebre were held up over the line early in the second half, but finally got on the board when Cronje chased down a Carlo Canna grubber to ground.
It was a momentary reprieve as Senatla gathered his own chip to apply an acrobatic finish to the Stormers’ sixth.
Zas gathered a scruffy pass to cross for his second on the hour and Ntubeni doubled his tally from another driving maul after Tuivuaka’s deserved dismissal.
Senatla completed the scoring in the closing stages and Tim Swiel added the extras – the Stormers’ first successful conversion since their fourth try.
Man of the Match
There were plenty of strong performances in the Stormers ranks but it was Senatla who took home the Man of the Match medal.
As well as his three tries, the wing led the way for clean breaks (three) and metres gained (132).
Play of the match
The Stormers were full of confidence and that was on full display for Senatla’s second try.
He backed himself to have the pace to beat opposite number Junior Laloifi, sent up the chip and gathered before somersaulting over the line.
For the Stormers
Tries: Libbok, Willemse, Zas 2, Senatla 3, Ntubeni 2
Cons: Libbok 4, Swiel
Red card: Asaeli Tuivuaka (Zebre, 74 – foul play, swinging arm to the head)
Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Allister Vermaak, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Rikus Pretorius.
Zebre: 15 Jacopo Trulla, 14 Junior Laloifi, 13 Erich Cronjé, 12 Timothy O’Malley, 11 Asaeli Tuivuaka, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Nicolò Casilio, 8 Renato Giammarioli (captain), 7 Iacopo Bianchi, 6 Luca Andreani, 5 Andrea Zambonin, 4 Liam Mitchell, 3 Ion Neculai, 2 Massimo Ceciliani, 1 Paolo Buonfiglio.
Replacements: 16 Giampietro Ribaldi, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Juan Pitinari, 19 Potu Junior Leavasa, 20 Maxime Mbandà, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Antonio Rizzi, 23 Giulio Bisegni.
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Morne Ferreira (South Africa)
TMO: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)