Zas double helps Stormers to maiden URC win
URC MATCH REPORT: The Stormers concluded their four-week United Rugby Championship (URC) tour with a hard-fought 24-10 win over Dragons on Friday.
Trailing 9-10 at the break, the Stormers produced an incredible second-half performance for their first victory on the road.
*To recap all the drama CLICK HERE!!!
Stormers wing Leolin Zas scored two tries for the Stormers, while Manie Libbok added four penalties and a conversion.
Josh Lewis scored a try for the Dragons, with Sam Davies kicking a penalty and a conversion.
After last week’s impressive 35-22 win at Connacht, it was a disappointing performance from the Dragons, whose case was not helped by the late withdrawals of centre Jack Dixon and fullback Jordan Williams.
In addition, they lost hooker Elliot Dee in the first half with what appeared to be a neck issue and this will be of concern to Wales coach Wayne Pivac with the national team’s New Zealand clash only a fortnight away.
The Dragons had the better of the early exchanges but it was the South Africans who grabbed the lead in the 15th minute when Libbok kicked a simple penalty.
The Stormers then suffered a blow when lock Salmaan Moerat was yellow-carded for a high tackle on home flank Taine Basham.
The Dragons immediately capitalised when a well-judged chip ahead from Davies saw Lewis win the race to touch down.
Davies converted and added a simple penalty, with Moerat returning from the sin-bin before Dee was helped off after lengthy treatment.
The home side received a further setback when Libbok kicked two penalties in quick succession, but the Dragons still held a 10-9 half-time lead.
A needless knock-on from Argentinian scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou gave the Stormers an attacking platform and, after turning down three kickable penalties, they were rewarded with a try when Libbok kicked through for Zas to collect and score.
Libbok missed the conversion but succeeded with a fourth penalty before the Stormers broke out in the final minutes, with Zas scoring his second try to seal the victory.
Player of the match
Warrick Gelant was everywhere for the Stormers and though they took a while to break clear, it was for not for want of trying, with the fullback a livewire in attack.
Gelant beat more defenders (5) than anybody else on the pitch and was also the stats leader for offloads (4).
Play of the match
The Stormers turned down a number of kickable penalties as they besieged the Dragons’ line, but the home side looked likely to survive the onslaught until Libbok’s well-judged kick gave Zas the chance to score and put the Stormers into the lead for the first time.
Tries: Zas 2
Pens: Libbok 3
Yellow card: Salmaan Moerat (Stormers, 19 – high tackle)
Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Jack Dixon, 12 Aneurin Owen, 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Ross Moriarty (captain), 5 Ben Carter, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Greg Bateman.
Replacements: 16 Taylor Davies, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Joe Davies, 20 Joe Maksymiw, 21 Ollie Griffiths, 22 Rhodri Williams, 23 Josh Lewis.
Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Leolin Zas, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Juan de Jongh.
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Ben Breakspear (Wales)
TMO: Emanuele Tomo (Italy)