The Stormers would probably claim they got the job done by beating the Sunwolves 52-15 at Newlands on Saturday night at Newlands in their Super Rugby clash, but … and there are a lot of buts.
They might have scored eight tries to two, but wow, they made life difficult for themselves.
The root of their problems was their possible complacency after their Japanese visitors were taken to the cleaners at Ellis Park last week.
While the Sunwolves showed a lot of spirit, it doesn’t bode well for the Stormers going into the playoffs that they lacked any continuity bar the individual patches of brilliance by the likes of fullback Dillyn Leyds, No 8 Nizaam Carr, flyhalf Damian Willemse and wing Seabelo Senatla.
The biggest moment of the match was probably when the unselfish Leyds gave the ball to wing Cheslin Kolbe to complete his hat-trick.
Who was the star in this match?
Young Junior Springbok flyhalf Damian Willemse – together with fullback Leyds – was one of the few shining lights in the Stormers’ iffy performance.
His try in the 46th minute to build on the halftime lead of 19-10 looked so simple because of his side-stepping brilliance after Leyds created the room for him to showcase his magic.
A star seems to have been born.
Key moments and themes
- The Stormers were dealt two heavy blows prior to the game when Springboks in prop Frans Malherbe and lock Eben Etzebeth were withdrawn due to minor niggles. It could’ve explained some of the Capetonians’ lack of rhythm.
- The Stormers were probably lulled into a false sense of security by scoring two converted tries inside the opening 15 minutes but the Sunwolves showed a lot of grit, clearly not wanting to suffer the same massacre that they received at Ellis Park.
- The Sunwolves’ opening try to narrow the Stormers lead to just 14-10 in the 20th minute scored by leftwing Teruyo Goto was as good as it gets. A simple scissor move with captain Willie Britz, who acted as the linking player, had the Stormers defence at sixes and sevens. It was once again an illustration that some potential is hidden in this side.
- Individual tries by Senatla, Willemse and Leyds softened the deeper problems of the Stormers. They simply won’t find that amount of space in two weeks’ time in the playoffs. They’ll need to be more accurate.
Stormers – Tries: Cheslin Kolbe (3), EW Viljoen, Seabelo Senatla, Damian Willemse, Dillyn Leyds (2). Conversions: Willemse (4), Kolbe (2).
Sunwolves – Tries: Teruyo Goto, Takeshi Hino. Conversions: Yu Tamura. Penalty: Tamura.