There have been some good ones by the Stormers until now, and with their latest showing they moved to second on the URC standings after a comprehensive 32-7 victory over Glasgow Warriors.
CAPE TOWN – When Stormers head coach John Dobson described their second-half display against Glasgow Warriors as their best performance in the United Rugby Championship (URC) so far, he had good reason to make that statement.
There have been some good ones by the Stormers until now, and with this showing they moved to second on the URC standings after a comprehensive 32-7 victory over the Scottish side.
Before kick-off, the visitors were in third spot on the log, while the hosts sat at No 5. And while it wasn’t a great start for the Stormers, they were on fire in the second half.
The South Africans were strong in the physical exchanges early on already, but they weren’t helped by their defective line-out, overall errors and Glasgow’s dominance with the territory and possession stats.
But the script flipped around the half-hour mark when a moment of brilliance by fullback Damian Willemse saw centre Rikus Pretorius compliment it with a stunning line onto the Springbok baller’s flat pass before hitting a gap to score their opening try.
From there on the Stormers took complete control and, after leading 13-7 at the break, they bagged 19 more points in the second half to secure their seventh consecutive win at home.
And it was a win that showed some of the Stormers’ best assets.
Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff – although they were dominant right from the start – had no match in Glasgow’s highly-rated front row when it came to the scrums. Overall, the Stormers’ power play couldn’t be missed, while the backs continued to be easy on the eye.
Replacement back Warrick Gelant sent out a stunning reminder of just how dangerous the Capetonians are on the counter attack when he ran a kick back from his own half, with Herschel Jantjies going over for the try after an attractive piece of play. And individually, there was no shortage of eye-catching moments, either.
Apart from all that, what made it an even sweeter result was how the men in blue not only fought back to get back into it, but kept their foot on the pedal.
With that performance, they solidified themselves as real title contenders.
Afterwards, Kitshoff spoke about that game-changing moment and how they cleaned up their early errors.
“Those first 20 minutes were extremely tough,” the skipper said. “They came out with a lot of intensity, a lot of aggression, work-rate and we just made error after error. There were a couple of skew throws at the lineout, totally in our control, that we messed up. We gave away a couple of silly breakdown penalties.
“I think that try, that bit of individual brilliance from Damian Willemse, putting Rikus away, that almost broke the dam wall. It just started flooding open and the game turned to our side. That, for momentum and a mindshift change, was just brilliant.”
The Stormers next face log-leaders Leinster at Cape Town Stadium on April 30 (kick-off 6:15pm), before concluding their regular-season campaign against Scarlets in Wales.