Vodacom Super Rugby
Stormers suffocate Sharks
Durban – Can it really only be five months since the Sharks smashed Western Province here at Kings Park in the Currie Cup final?
On Saturday, the Stormers certainly extracted an impressive revenge. The score may only have been 16-6, but it’s the total control that the Stormers exerted that made an impression.
Last year the Stormers and WP were the victims of early blitzkriegs by the Sharks at Kings Park. But on Saturday the Stormers dominated the collisions from the outset.
Peter Grant gave the Stormers the lead with an early penalty.
Grant succeeded with all four his kicks at goal, but it was the whole team’s effort on defence that ensured the victory.
Willem Alberts gave WP major headaches with his tackling and powerful ball-carries in the Currie Cup final, but on Saturday he was tackled back early by Stormers lock Rynhardt Elstadt.
Elstadt played very well until he was replaced by De Kock Steenkamp and one can only drool about the 21-year-old lock’s potential.
Schalk Burger also performed well as loose forward and captain on his return to the side.
With respect to Alberts, it’s something of a mystery how he could be picked as man of the match over Burger, but as Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said, it’s getting the four log points that counts.
Burger also scored the only try of the match after good work by Jaque Fourie.
The try had its origin in a counter-attack that Bryan Habana launched after a weak kick down field by the home side.
Grant converted and the score was 10-3 after just 15 minutes.
After that the Sharks were strangled into submission. Possession was often coughed up by the home side and every route on the attack proved to be a blind alley with a wall of defenders.
On the odd occasion that they got through, the Stormers’ scramble defence took care of the situation. A good example was when Gio Aplon chased down Jacques-Louis Potgieter following a counter-attack from their own 22m-area by the Sharks.
Potgieter’s poor kicking – he succeeded with only two out of five kicks – was in strong contrast to Grant, whose success ratio for the season now stands at 85% (34 from 40).
At the lineouts the home team also conceded possession to Andries Bekker and Co on a number of occasions.
It came as no surprise when the Sharks’ attempts at rescuing a bonus point from the game ended with a knock-on in the Stormers’ 22m-area.
While the Sharks deserve credit for trying to attack to the very end, the Stormers’ defence ultimately proved decisive.
Five months ago Kings Park was in ecstasy following the Currie Cup final victory. On Saturday, a hush of silence descended on the stadium as the Stormers tackled the Sharks into submission.
6 (6): Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (2).
16 (13): Try: Schalk Burger. Conversion: Peter Grant. Penalties: Grant (3).