Cape Town - Blues lock Hayden Triggs was red-carded after 25 minutes as the
Stormers triumphed 27-16 at Newlands on Saturday to top the
Super Rugby table.
AS IT HAPPENED: Stormers v Blues
Triggs was sent off by referee Craig Joubert after punching Stormers
captain Duane Vermuelen twice in an off-the-ball incident spotted by an
assistant referee during the second-round game.
Vermuelen, making his 100th southern hemisphere inter-provincial
championship appearance, saw his side initially take advantage of their
numerical superiority to build an 18-6 half-time lead.
But the anticipated second-half dominance of the home side did
not materialise and while they finished comfortable winners, never
looked like claiming a four-try bonus point.
Blues, narrow losers at home by fellow New Zealanders the Chiefs
last weekend, clawed within five points of Stormers 12 minutes into the
second half after fullback Charles Piutau created a try.
He found space in the home defence and broke through before passing
to replacement loose forward Luke Braid, who sent scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan
Young flyhalf Ihaia West converted to maintain a perfect
goal-kicking record in the match after slotting three penalties, and
raising his season tally to 29 points.
Stormers kept their nerve, however, and penalties by flyhalf Demetri
Catrakilis and his replacement, Kurt Coleman, secured a hollow 11-point
Victory lifted the Cape Town team to eight points after a win over the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend - level with the Hurricanes but ahead on points difference.
Defeat left three-time champions Blues second last on the Super Rugby
table with one point and they could drop to the bottom if the Lions
avoid defeat at the Sharks later on Saturday.
West slotted two penalties and Catrakilis one in the early stages
before Stormers scrumhalf Nic Groom scored the first try of the match
on 11 minutes.
The crowd warmly applauded the decision to kick for touch rather than
the posts and the Blues buckled under sustained intense pressure as
Groom dived over.
Stormers scored a second try nine minutes after Triggs was sent off,
and it was a brilliant solo effort by left-wing Dillyn Leyds.
Cleanly fielding a high kick from Piutau near the touchline, Leyds
cut inside right-wing Ben Lam and darted 40 metres for a try Catrakilis
A knee injury forced Stormers flank Rynhardt Elstadt to be replaced
by Nizaam Carr before Catrakilis closed the first-half scoring with a
Catrakilis and West added one penalty each before Cowan went over to
raise hopes of a heroic comeback by the Blues that were extinguished as
Catrakilis and Coleman kicked penalties.
In next weekend's Round 3 action, the Stormers travel to Emirates Airlines Park to face the Lions (Saturday, February 28 at 19:10) while the Blues head for Bloemfontein to play the Cheetahs (Friday, February 27 at 19:10).
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Johnny Kotze, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jurie van Vuuren, 3. Vincent Koch, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Wilco Louw, 19. Siya Kolisi, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Kurt Coleman, 23. Huw Jones
15 Charles Piutau, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Hamish Northcott, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes:16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Luke Braid, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Lolagi Visinia