The Stormers’ belated revival continued on Saturday after they gained a notable 34-22 over the Highlanders at Newlands.
Coach Robbie Fleck will be immensely satisfied with his troops’ attack, which truly fired for the first time since their win on tour over the Rebels.
They kept their heads well when they had to defend and also took advantage of their opponents’ indiscipline, keeping the South African conference thoroughly congested.
Who was the star in this match?
Dillyn Leyds’ claim for a Springbok recall grows stonger weekly. The nippy winger was once again a huge all-round presence. He was a consistent attacking threat, making 92 running metres and thrice breaking the line. His final linebreak was a superb piece of skill, deftly creating space for lock Cobus Wiese’s try. Damian de Allende also showed glimpses of class in midfield.
Key moments and themes
- Given how their attacking play has been criticised this season for lacking a cutting edge, it was noticeable how potent the hosts were in this game. Four tries against an accomplished Highlanders team is no mean feat. Encouragingly, the Stormers scored their tries through enterprising play, with Leyds and De Allende particularly prominent.
- Despite the stats suggesting that the home side made most of the play, they showed great composure on the back foot as well. Their defence was far more watertight than the New Zealanders’ and led to various turnovers. One example was how the cover defence stunted a promising attack early in the second half after Aaron Smith’s break.
- The Highlanders’ discipline let them down badly. Fullback Matt Faddes’ lifting hit on De Allende went above the threshold and also didn’t see the Bok centre coming down safely. It led to a yellow card and Siya Kolisi’s try. Another high tackle in the second half saw the Stormers gain a crucial kick at goal.
- After his try, Kolisi went off, raising concerns over his fitness, but he was seen cheering on the touchline in the latter stages of the match.
Stormers – Tries: Herschel Jantjies, Siya Kolisi, Cobus Wiese, Jean-Luc du Plessis. Conversions: Josh Stander (3), Du Plessis. Penalties: Stander, Du Plessis.
Highlanders – Tries: Sio Tomkinson, Waisake Naholo, Siate Tokolahi. Conversions: Marty Banks, Dan Hollinshead. Penalty: Banks.