Stormers’ World Cup front row break Cheetahs’ resolve
Two moments illuminated this 30-13 Super Rugby Unlocked victory to the Stormers over the Cheetahs that were in danger of not making it onto any highlights reel at Newlands last night.
The first involved the Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant weaving his magic to help fashion a marvellous team try for the Stormers that helped set up their win, before opposite wing Rosko Specman forced his will on proceedings scoring a try that required athleticism, agility and acrobatics.
While those moments helped bring artistic impression, it was the artisans in the form of Springboks Frans Malherbe, Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi that helped break the Cheetahs scrum, and with it their resolve.
It was felt the Rugby World Cup-winning front row would have to be involved deep in the game, and so it proved to telling effect as Malherbe uncharacteristically only left the field in the 72nd minute.
Gelant continued the form he showed in such abundance in Kimberley last week by snapping the game from its drab holding pattern early in the second half to help put distance between the hosts and their plucky opponents.
His quick feet and awareness of space came to the fore as the Stormers engineered a team try for No.8 Juarno Augustus inside the first 10 minutes of the second half.
The converted try, which also featured some deft touches from hooker Scarra Ntubeni, handed the Stormers a 14-point advantage just after the visitors had added their second penalty.
It was a laboured first half in which the teams largely neutralised each other. While the Stormers looked more likely to fashion opportunity from nothing, the Cheetahs made their physicality felt at the breakdown.
Neither side played with rhythm and continuity, which made for a start-stop affair as mistakes mounted.
The Cheetahs lacked precision in their execution of the basics, which undermined their toil in the first half.
The Stormers looked the more alert when opportunity presented itself and scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies made full use of Cheetahs wing Malcolm Jaer drifting from his defensive channel to run in unopposed down the touchline.
When the Cheetahs made it into the Stormers’ 22, they were particularly partial to turning over possession.
Sustained Stormers pressure close the the Cheetahs tryline around the quarter-mark yielded a penalty and Damian Willemse duly stretched the hosts’ advantage to 10 points.
The second quarter saw both teams squandering scoring opportunities until Willemse, almost exasperatedly, launched a long range drop.
The win, in the Stormers’ last match at Newlands, helped advance them into second place on the points table.
Stormers (30) - Tries: Herschel Jantjies, Juarno Augustus, Warrick Gelant. Conversions: Damian Willemse (3). Penalties: Willemse. (2). Drop goal: Willemse.
Cheetahs (13) - Try: Rosko Specman. Conversion: Tian Schoeman. Penalties: Schoeman (2)