URC result: Steely Stormers overcome Sharks

The Stormers continued their dominant run against South African opposition.

The Stormers held on to deny the resurgent Sharks in Durban on Saturday and extend their streak against SA rivals.

A 70th-minute penalty from Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu gave the Stormers the buffer they needed to claim a 25-21 win at a packed Kings Park.

The win sees the Stormers continue their incredible run against South African opposition, which stretches back to 2021, ahead of the much-anticipated clash with the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria in March.

Five points separate the two teams on the log, after the Bulls claimed a full house of points against the Lions in Johannesburg earlier on Saturday.

Meanwhile the Sharks, who trailed by 15 points in the second half, had to settle for a losing bonus point after threatening an incredible comeback thanks to the impact of their bench.

Dominant start

The Stormers had all the possession and territory in the opening exchanges and camped down in the Sharks’ 22, but it took until the 16th minute for the dam wall to break, when Joseph Dweba sprinted over after Feinberg-Mngomezulu’s cross-field kick found Ben Loader.

Warrick Gelant enjoyed a fantastic return to his attacking form of old and set up the visitors’ second try with a clever chip kick over the defence, gathering to put Paul de Wet away for a run under the poles.

Coming in for Damian Willemse, one of three Springboks that the Stormers rested for the game, Feinberg-Mngomezulu gave another good account of his ability, slotting a long-range penalty in the first half and finishing with a haul of 10 points.

The Sharks did finish the first half strongly and hit back when Ox Nche reached over from close range. The hosts took that momentum into the second half and sparked when Bongi Mbonambi made his return from injury from the bench, while debutant flyhalf Siya Masuku also came on to great effect.

Gelant put Loader over in the corner to stretch the Stormers’ lead to 15 points, but from there the Sharks started controlling the game. Tries from Mbonambi and James Venter gave the Sharks hope of a comeback.

While they won a turnover penalty after the hooter, the Sharks couldn’t make it count, as the Stormers poached the subsequent lineout and hoofed the ball into touch.

This story was first published on sarugbymag.co.za. It is republished here with permission.