Cape Town - A try by Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers made the difference as the Stormers edged the Reds 20-15 on Saturday in a tense Super Rugby tussle.
After a first half that produced only three points at
windy Newlands, a brilliant try by the veteran lifted a game between
South African and Australian sides with very different agendas.
Elton Jantjies launched the move on 44 minutes with a cross-field kick
that found left wing Bryan Habana, and he passed inside to Joe
The full-back surged forward before unleashing De
Villiers on the outside and the centre darted over for a try which
Pietersen failed to convert in difficult goal-kicking conditions.
and Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper then traded penalties - finishing with
five goals each - in a match that ended with the home team desperately
defending the try-line.
The Reds were awarded a last-minute scrum
that had to be reset twice before the Brisbane outfit launched a slow,
multi-phase effort to score the converted try that would have brought
Progress was painfully slow, punctuated by a tap penalty,
and lasted four minutes before Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg won a
turnover and Jantjies ended the game with a kick to touch.
was a huge relief for the Stormers, who started the season among the
title favourites but began this match just six points above Southern
Kings in a race to avoid a relegation play-off.
The win stretched
that gap to 10 points and the Stormers have home advantage over the Port
Elizabeth-based Kings next weekend in a potentially decisive fixture
for both teams.
Defeat completed a dismal two-match tour for
the Reds, who gained only a losing bonus point in Cape Town after coming
away empty-handed from the Cheetahs last weekend.
remain fifth - in a play-off position - but hopes of overtaking
Australian conference leaders Brumbies were dealt a big blow as they
have only two games left and are five points adrift.
It took 40
minutes and 40 seconds before the scoreboard operator was needed as
Pietersen atoned for an early miss by slotting a close-range penalty
after Liebenberg was stopped just short.
As the battle of the boot
unfolded, the Stormers stayed ahead until 11 minutes from time when the
fifth success by Cooper gave his team a 15-14 advantage.
Pietersen kept his nerve to kick two more penalties and ended a
three-match losing streak by the Stormers on a disastrous tour of
15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Jean de
Villiers (captain), 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Elton
Jantjies, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Don Armand, 6. Siya
Kolisi, 5. Eben Etzebeth, 4. Gerbrandt Grobler, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Tiaan
Liebenberg, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Martin
Bezuidenhout, 17. Chris Heiberg, 18. Marius Coetzer, 19. Rohan Kitshoff,
20. Dewaldt Duvenage, 21. Gary van Aswegen, 22. Gerhard van den HeeverReds:
15. Jonathan Lance, 14. Rod Davies, 13. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12. Anthony
Faingaa, 11. Luke Morahan, 10. Quade Cooper, 9. Will Genia, 8. Radike
Samo, 7. Liam Gill, 6. Jake Schatz, 5. James Horwill (captain), 4. Rob
Simmons, 3. James Slipper, 2. Saia Faingaa, 1. Greg Holmes
Substitutes: 16. James Hanson, 17. Ben Daley, 18. Ed O`Donoghue, 19. Ed Quirk, 20. Beau Robinson, 21. Ben Lucas, 22. Ben Tapuai