Cape Town - The Stormers ran out worthy 26-21
winners over the Melbourne Rebels in their Super Rugby clash at Newlands
on Saturday afternoon.
It was the final 2012 league phase match
for both teams and the Stormers' victory took them to the No 1 spot on
the 2012 Super Rugby league standings.
It is the first time the
Stormers have finished in the No 1 slot on the overall standings. The
Stormers will enjoy a bye next week ahead of the semifinal round in a
Many of the Rebels players were playing their
final match for the Melbourne franchise and it was evident all
afternoon that they wanted to sign off on a high note.
Stormers' show of intent to run the ball at every opportunity coupled
with the Rebels' unwavering commitment on defence made for an absorbing
contest in the opening 20 minutes. The Rebels battled to contain the
Stormers' early enterprise and they infringed twice in the first minutes
and flyhalf Peter Grant goaled twice to give the Stormers an initial
The Stormers' backline was brought into play and it
was only a matter of time before they broke though the Rebels' defence.
Leftwing Bryan Habana streaked through in the 13th minute but referee
Lourens van der Merwe ruled an infringement in the Stormers' approach
But two minutes later centre Juan de Jongh darted in for
the first try of the match, with Grant adding the conversion to give the
Stormers a 13-0 lead.
The Rebels responded with waves of attacks in the Stormers' 22-metre area.
However, the Rebels came away empty-handed after a 13-minute attacking spell against Super Rugby's finest defence.
On the stroke of halftime Grant succeeded with a 40-metre penalty (16-0).
Rebels returned with an even greater sense of purpose in the second
half and their pressure paid dividends twice in the opening 14 minutes.
First prop Rodney Blake scored and scrumhalf Nick Phipps dotted down
three minutes later. Fullback Julian Huxley converted both (16-14).
14-point setback served as a wake-up call for the Stormers and their
backs and forwards combined splendidly in an upfield sortie which ended
with De Jongh going in for his second try. Grant converted for a 23-14
lead. Rebel replacement Cooper Vuna ran in for the Rebels' third
converted try in the 70th minute (23-21).
The Stormers tried to
produce a grandstand finish to the regular season but their lone reward
in the final minutes was a fourth Grant penalty (26-21).Teams:
15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain),
11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Deon Fourie, 7
Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp,
3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff
16 Brok Harris, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Quinn Roux, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20
Louis Schreuder, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Gerhard van den Heever
Julian Huxley, 14. Mark Gerrard, 13. Mitch Inman, 12. Stirling Mortlock
(captain), 11. Cooper Vuna, 10. James Hilgendorf, 9. Nick Phipps, 8.
Gareth Delve, 7. Hugh Perrett, 6. Tim Davidson, 5. Hugh Pyle, 4. Cadeyrn
Neville, 3. Jono Owen, 2. Ged Robinson, 1. Rodney Blake
16. Luke Holmes, 17. Paul Alo-Emile, 18. Alister Campbell, 19. Ryan
Hodson, 20. Nick Stirzaker, 21. Lachlan Mitchell, 22. Richard Kingi