Posted by Sanzar on March 08, 2015
SUPER STORMERS PUT AWAY THE SHARKS
The Stormers remained unbeaten and top of the South African Conference by defeating the Sharks 34-13 in a feisty derby.
A super solo score by Johnny Kotze and a penalty try against Springbok scrumhalf Cobus Reinach wrapped up a deserved win for the Stormers, their fourth of the season.
It's early days but the Stormers now look like South Africa's best hope of a Super Rugby title, based on their start to the year and the questionable form of their rivals.
When it mattered their growing composure shone through in Cape Town, undaunted by the larger number of Springboks in the Sharks' ranks.
They will be truly tested on tour in Australiasia, but the intensity of the collisions at Newlands in front of a crowd of over 40,000 will have been the best possible preparation.
Last week's high-scoring defeat at Loftus had the Sharks out to make amends against their unbeaten hosts. Losing three scrums on their own ball in the first half certainly wasn't part of the plan.
Instead this was the perfect homecoming for Schalk Burger in his first appearance since returning from Japan, coming off the bench to a rousing roar from the crowd. Frans Steyn, also back on home soil, instead irked them with his one-man mission to catch the Stormers' kickers with hard tackles.
Early width from the Sharks resulted in Pat Lambie opening the scoring with a third-minute penalty as the home side were caught off guard, but the Stormers took control of territory and possession albeit with initially little reward.
Something special was needed. Step forward Kotze, the rapid rookie winger who beat Lwazi Mvovo to a long kick from Demetri Catrakilis and sped his way over under the posts for a great individual try.
The Sharks response was instantaneous, back on the ball for the first time in ten minutes and running their way into Stormers territory thanks to Akona Ndungane.
Nic Groom's yellow card set the Stormers defence a tough challenge with the Sharks refusing to back down, grabbing their first try through a brave finish by Lambie.
The Springbok flyhalf took on the defence after some fine handling by the Sharks in the build-up to go over in the corner with momentum carrying him over as Jaco Peyper trusted his judgement rather than call for the TMO.
Peyper did however consult Deon van Blommestein not long after, when Cheslin Kolbe was taken out by Frans Steyn following a kick ahead. The extended stoppage only resulted in a penalty, which damningly, Catrakilis couldn't find touch from as the opportunity to attack was lost.
Catrakilis redeemed himself with a tough penalty on the angle from around 40 metres out to level things up at 10-10 but the Sharks were intent on regaining their lead before half-time, a monster scrum inside the Stormers 22 perhaps a signal of things to come.
Instead it was the Stormers that struck, with Damian de Allende unleashing two moments of brilliance bumping off Lambie and Marcell Coetzee before cantering up the touchline. The hosts' surge ended with another penalty chance for Catrakilis, giving his team a three-point advantage at the break.
Rising indiscipline and scrum issues for the Sharks were giving the Stormers the upper hand as Catrakilis two more quick penalties to make it 19-10 after half-time.
The visitors had to react to stay in the game but the tempo of the first hour evaporated in an error-strewn passage of play.
Even with all the experience of Steyn and JP Pietersen nobody in the Sharks backline was able to unlock the Stormers defence in the same manner as the thrilling Kolbe did time and again.
Lambie pulled back three points off the tee but a crucial intervention from Peyper then looked to settle the contest.
Cobus Reinach's kick was charged down and in the madness as Ndungane regathered and attempted to run out of his in-goal area, the ball squirted loose and Reinach was adjudged to have deliberately played the ball from an offside position to prevent a try. Game over at 26-13 with ten minutes less.
Steyn's inevitable yellow card followed for another late hit, his second on Kolbe, with replacement Kurt Coleman stretching the lead before De Jongh had a late try ruled out.
No matter - this was a comprehensive victory for Allister Coetzee's men and another feather in the cap for a side that are on the up.