Cape Town - After their thrashing at the hands of the Bulls at Loftus last week, the Blues regained their winning touch to run out close-shave 14-8 winners over the Stormers in their Super 14 clash at Newlands on Saturday evening.
After the sides were level-pegging at eight points apiece at the break, the Blues' place-kicker Paul Williams was successful with two penalties that turned out to be match winners on the day - and the only points in the second half.
After a hesitant start the Stormers managed the ball through several stages but their reluctance to play wide, often with an extra man looming on the flanks, saw the Blues close them and avert danger in the opening six minutes.
Under the posts
Stormers flyhalf Peter made good his side's first raid on the Blues' 22m area with a 30m penalty in the ninth minute (3-0).
As has been the case with the Auckland visitors in the past, they were slow out of the blocks and the Stormers' enterprising play, which prospered because their vastly improved ability to off-load in the tackle, saw the Blues pinned in their half for some 20 minutes.
A 21st minute free-kick for the Blues which took play up to the Stormers' 22m line provided them with a springboard to launch their first attacks on the opposition's tryline.
The Stormers were blown up for an infringement almost under their posts and from the resultant scrum the Blues ran the ball smartly to the blindside where an overlap allowed winger Paul Williams in to score the first try of the match. Williams failed with the conversion (5-3).
The Blues were not able to build on this score as the Stormers responded with several passages of play that always looked capable of breaching the defence.
However, it was a dreadful mess up in the Blues defence that allowed the Stormers back into the game when their scrumhalf Ricky Januarie outstripped the defence to pounce on a stray ball for his side's first try.
Grant failed with the conversion (8-5).
Intercepted a pass
Just ahead of the halftime whistle, Williams was on target with a penalty which made for an 8-8 scoreline at the break.
With the blustery south-easter wind howling on the terraces the crowd of 40 000 warmed to the adventurous play at the start of the second half. Both teams drew a fair amount of applause for their efforts but as entertaining as it was they failed to make it count on the scoreboard.
Williams, however, broke the stalemate with a penalty which he struck from midway between the Stormers 10m and 22m lines in the 51st minute (11-8).
Mistakes, mostly handling, rather than competent defence saw the 20 minutes of play progress without any changes to the scoreline. The best scoring chance fell to the Blues fullback Isaia Toeva who intercepted a pass in the Stormers backline on the halfway line, but he was brought down by Jean de Villiers after a 35m dash.
Williams goaled another penalty two minutes before the end for the 14-8 win.
Stormers: Try: Ricky Januarie. Penalty: Peter Grant.
Blues: Try: Paul Williams. Penalties: Williams (3).