Skillful Stormers score four tries to outfox Chiefs

Skillful Stormers score four tries to outfox Chiefs

In an exhilarating exhibition of rugby, the Stormers beat the Chiefs 34-26 at Newlands on Saturday night.

Stormers vs Chiefs
Photo from video

Both teams scored a few breathtaking touchdowns that left the 35 000-strong crowd in awe at the level of skill from the players, with the Stormers grabbing four tries and the visitors three as the hosts won their sixth match in a row.

With the build-up dominated by the Chiefs’ 60-21 destruction of the Capetonians in last year’s Super Rugby quarter-final at Newlands, it was actually the Stormers who were quicker out of the blocks as No 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe created the first real opening of the game.
The speedy loose forward broke down the blindside, and after a couple of strong carries up the middle, Notshe rounded off in the fourth minute.
But the joy was short-lived for the home fans as the match boiled over into a number of pushing and shoving episodes, and after referee Jaco Peyper warned both sides, young Stormers flank Cobus Wiese pushed a Chiefs player off the ball and was given a yellow card in the eighth minute.
That was the catalyst for the Kiwis to get into their stride, and they were soon making the ball “talk” with their quick passing game. It set up a three-pointer for captain Aaron Cruden, and then they came up with a try that will remain in the memory of everyone who was present at the ground and who watched it elsewhere for a good few years.
Just 10 metres from his own line, wing James Lowe broke the line and then sparked a series of astonishing offloads – without a single ruck being formed – with Lowe involved right at the end before Liam Messam put wing Toni Pulu over after 14 minutes.
It was something out of this world, but the Stormers’ more rugged defensive effort paid dividends as they put in double-hits and tried to force the visitors into errors.
That paved the way for Robbie Fleck’s team to regain their rhythm on attack, and they showcased all the skills that they have embraced over the last few months in a wonderfully patient build-up where Dan du Plessis and Bongi Mbonambi were prominent.
Eventually industrious captain Kolisi – the man of the match – rumbled over, and suddenly the Stormers were 14-10 ahead after 20 minutes.
But the two-time champions didn’t lie down, and it was fullback Damian McKenzie who lit up Newlands with another audacious break up the middle to put Pulu through for a second and an 18-14 advantage for the Chiefs.
The New Zealanders looked like they were gaining the upperhand, but they didn’t expect Stormers No 15 SP Marais to slot a nearly 50-metre penalty to narrow the deficit to a single point, before flyhalf Robert du Preez smashed his way across the whitewash off a five-metre scrum.
The 24-18 half time lead was never relinquished by the Stormers, and their increasing physicality – despite the late withdrawal of Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit – took the sting out of the Chiefs attack the longer the match wore on.
While Marais and Cruden exchanged further penalties, Kolisi and his men weren’t done yet. Almost out of nothing, Cheslin Kolbe put in a grubber that was chased by Dillyn Leyds in the 52nd minute.
Leyds reclaimed possession and surged upfield, and then threw an incredible back-handed blind pass off the ground into the bread basket of a flying Marais, who raced over in the left corner.
That put the Stormers 34-21 in front with 28 minutes to go, but despite Lowe counter-punching with the Chiefs’ third try before the final quarter, the men from Hamilton weren’t able to get over the line again.
Scorers: Stormers 34 (24): Tries: Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Siya Kolisi, Robert du Preez, SP Marais. Conversions: Du Preez (4). Penalties: SP Marais (2).
Chiefs 26 (18): Tries: Toni Pulu (2), James Lowe. Conversion: Aaron Cruden (1). Penalties: Cruden (2), Damian McKenzie (1). 

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