CAPE TOWN – Last week, 39-6 was an embarrassment for the Stormers. This week, it was redemption.
After two unconvincing wins against the Lions and Pumas and a 6-39 hammering by the Bulls at Loftus, the pressure was on John Dobson’s side to perform this week. And while the win against Griquas – and also the performance – should be taken in context seeing as they played a non-Super Rugby side, it was still a pleasing display, with one of the best aspects being some of the individual performances.
Man of the Match, Warrick Gelant had an absolute blinder as he contributed massively on attack, lending a direct hand in the Stormers’ two first-half tries as he drew in defenders before setting the ball loose and identified space to exploit.
Scrumhalf Paul de Wet, who’s in for Herschel Jantjies, also looked good as he used that pace to gain ground and snipe past Griquas, and a couple of times he only lacked support to make more of their possession, especially early on. Ruhan Nel, who came on after wing Edwill van der Merwe left the field shortly after kickoff, also did a solid job in the backline, especially considering he returned from injury.
The centre pairing of Rikus Pretorius and Dan du Plessis was also a treat and did enough to deserve another run after they had some issues pre-Kimberley, while captain Steven Kitshoff has every reason to be chuffed with his performance in his 100th Stormers game.
Damian Willemse, though, missed four relatively easy kicks at goal, something that will certainly add to the pressure on he’s been under to perform in recent weeks.
The Stormers’ attack, especially after the break, was an exciting display, and the interplay between backs was also good to see. And then there were those offloads.
Their set-piece also functioned well, and their execution when it came to try-scoring opportunities was good – a marked improvement from earlier games. Another positive was how they created those opportunities.
Griquas struggled with their lineouts in the first half, and their only points in the opening half came after a good scrummaging effort, with Kitshoff being penalised, and the hosts used the advantage to get on the scoreboard with a penalty conversion after the Stormers has scored two tries through Ernst van Rhyn and Neethling Fouche (3-15).
Early in the second half, Griquas 10 Tinus de Beer added a second penalty (6-15), but the Stormers started running away with the points after that.
Angelo Davids brought even more heat to Kimberley when he ducked and dodged his way out of the hosts’ grasp to dot down after Van Ehyn kicked it ahead, with Du Plessis, Juarno Augustus and Willemse all crossing the try line after that.
The Stormers next face the Cheetahs at Newlands.
Griquas: Penalties: Tinus de Beer (2
Stormers: Tries: Ernst van Rhyn, Neethling Fouche, Angelo Davids, Dan du Plessis, Juarno Augustus, Damian Willemse Conversions: Willemse (3) Penalties: Willemse