Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Champions Cup result: Stormers seal comfortable win over Harlequins

The second half started with the Stormers back on the front foot, leading to one of the tries of the season.

The Stormers booked their place in the quarterfinals of the Champions Cup, with a comfortable 32-28 (halftime 17-7) last 16 win over Harlequins at a packed Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Although it ended up being just a four point win, the Stormers absolutely dominated the first 75 minutes of the match to lead 32-7, before the hosts switched off in the final five minutes and allowed Harlequins to run in three late converted scores to make the game look a lot closer than it was.

ALSO READ: Milestones galore as Stormers host Harlequins in Champions Cup

The match got off to a flying start with three tries in the first 10 minutes of the match as both sides came out firing.

Straight from the kick-off some wonderful handling saw the Stormers break down field, with flank Deon Fourie diving over untouched and flyhalf Manie Libbok adding the extras.

But Harlequins hit back almost immediately as they attacked into the Stormers 22m and getting close, from where eighthman Alex Dombrandt could power his way over from close range, before flyhalf Marcus Smith levelled the scores with the conversion.

In the eighth minute the Stormers received a couple of penalties, kicking onto the Harlequins 5m, where they setup the maul and rumbled overm with captain Steven Kitshoff dotting down the unconverted score as they took a 12-7 lead.

After the frantic start, the match seemed to calm down a bit, before the Stormers went further ahead with their second unconverted try in the 28th minute.

It was from another 5m lineout as they set the maul and rumbled towards the line before it was brought down short, with Fourie breaking off and diving over for his second.

The Stormers showed immense defence on the stroke of halftime to make sure that they went into the break with a 10 point lead as Harlequins threw everything at them in the final few minutes of the half, with multiple penalties and a team warning against the Stormers still not enough for the visitors to get through.

Try of the season

The second half started with the Stormers back on the front foot, leading to one of the tries of the season as the hosts moved further ahead in the 47th minute.

Attacking from a strong scrum in the Harlequins half, Libbok sent a pinpoint cross kick into their 22m where wing Seabelo Senatla superbly caught the ball and offloaded inside for fullback Damian Willemse to tiptoe down the line and dive over, dotting the ball in the corner to put them into a 22-7 lead.

Libbok was not having a good night from the kicking tee, having missed three conversions, but he immediately opted for posts from a penalty in front near the 10m and nailed it as the Stormers moved up 25-7 after 55 minutes.

The home side sealed the win with another powerful maul try in the 74th minute, as they rumbled over for replacement loose forward Willie Englebrecht to score, followed by Libbok slotting the touchline conversion.

With the home side switching off in the final five minutes, Harlequins punished them with three late tries as Dombrandt crashed over for his second, inside centre Andre Esterhuizen finished off a lovely chip and chase started by Smith and wing Joe Marchant seized on a loose ball to score well into injury time.


Stormers: Tries – Deon Fourie (2), Steven Kitshoff, Damian Willemse, Willie Engelbrecht; Conversions – Manie Libbok (2); Penalty – Libbok

Harlequins: Tries – Alex Dombrandt (2), Andre Esterhuizen, Joe Marchant; Conversions – Marcus Smith (4)