Inspired by a brilliant Herschel Jantjies, the Stormers showed why they are regarded as one of the pre-season Super Rugby favourites by beating a poor and ill-disciplined Hurricanes side 27-0 at Newlands on Saturday.
John Dobson’s charges raced into a 19-0 lead at the break after scoring three first-half tries on the back of punishing the New Zealanders’ lack of possession, a superb set-piece and and their own ability to score points from opportunities.
An error-ridden second half illustrated that an accomplished combination still have work to do, only adding a penalty before a late intercept by flyhalf Damian Willemse with two minutes remaining.
That said, they were also assisted by a hapless Canes, who played 20 minutes with 14 men, as their indiscipline – centre Billy Proctor made a dangerous charge on Willemse in mid-air, while lock Vaea Fifita made a dangerous hit on hooker Scarra Ntubeni – and unforced errors undermined them.
Who was the star in this match?
Jantjies underlined that he’s not a one-season wonder by playing a blinder. He was already in the thick of things early by producing a few sniping breaks next to the ruck as well as scoring the Stormers’ third try in the 26th minute, picking up a loose ball in the Hurricanes backline and running through untouched. His delightful cross-kick also led to wing Sergeal Petersen’s opening score.
Key moments and themes
- The Stormers suffered a potential huge blow in the 26th minute when Bok captain Siya Kolisi was forced off the field with a serious knee ligament injury, following a late tackle from Canes hooker Ricky Riccitelli. At best, he could face six weeks on the sidelines. To rub salt into the wound, his national teammate and hooker Bongi Mbonambi also left the park in the second half with what looked like a serious hamstring injury. This could present a real headaches for coach Dobson.
- It was pleasing to see how the Stormers stuck to the strengths of the Springboks, laying the foundation up front, feasting on the Hurricanes’ shocking form and showing nice variety on attack. Following Petersen’s opener, the home side ensured they kept a firm grip with two more tries by prop Steven Kitshoff and Jantjie. It could have been even more had Mbonambi not been held-up over the line.
- Given the attention afforded to him in pre-season, Willemse was initially off his game and made mistakes, but that was interspersed with a few great darting runs. His game ended well, but he’s still a tad rough around the edges.
Stormers – Tries: Sergeal Petersen, Steven Kitshoff, Herschel Jantjies, Damian Willemse. Conversions: Willemse (2). Penalty: Willemse.