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    Stormers stumble past 14-man Blues

    2015-02-21 18:49

    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 over.

    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.

    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 converted.

    A knee injury forced Stormers flank Rynhardt Elstadt to be replaced by Nizaam Carr before Catrakilis closed the first-half scoring with a stoppage-time penalty. 

    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

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