Stormers see red at Newlands
Cape Town - Skipper Michael Hooper scored a late try to help the Waratahs triumph 32-30 over the 14-man Stormers Saturday in a Super Rugby thriller in Cape Town.
Flank and official man of the match Hooper dived over under the posts after the Australians won a scrum against the head and fly-half Bernard Foley won the game with an easy conversion.
Stormers were reduced to 14 men after 57 minutes of the round 10 clash when winger Lionel Zas was red-carded by New Zealand referee Mike Fraser after an aerial collision with Foley.
The Wallaby playmaker landed on his head and shoulder, but continued playing after treatment.
Stormers supporters in the 25 000 Newlands stadium crowd booed the decision, but TV analyst and former Springboks coach Nick Mallett said the referee made the correct decision.
"The law is very clear - the higher player has all the rights and that was Foley," he told SuperSport viewers.
"If both players are an equal distance off the ground then it is a fair contest. That was not the case in the incident between Foley and Zas."
Fellow analyst and former Springboks flyhalf Naas Botha agreed.
"If you are half a second late in contesting the ball, you must wait until your opponent reaches the ground, then try and turn him round," said the drop-goal legend.
It was the second Super Rugby red card in successive weekends after an aerial collision.
New Zealander Jason Emery of the Highlanders was sent off in Dunedin following an incident with South African Willie le Roux of the Sharks.
Hooper was thrilled after the Waratahs achieved a fourth win in eight matches to move within two points of Australia conference frontrunners the Melbourne Rebels.
"It is fantastic to win at Newlands," he said. "We capitalised on limited possession to triumph and this success is a step in the right direction."
Stormers skipper and centre Juan de Jongh said: "We played some of our best rugby this season during the first half, but it was tough when a man short."
The bonus point the Cape Town team secured for losing by seven or fewer points gave them a one-point lead over fellow South Africans Bulls in the Africa 1 standings.
Waratahs centre Kurtley Beale opened the scoring with a try and the Stormers responded with two, from flanker Schalk Burger and lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, with fly-half Jean-Luc du Plessis converting both.
A brilliant try by full-back Israel Folau, which Foley converted, left the Australians trailing 14-12 at half-time.
Du Plessis and Foley kicked two penalties each before Zas saw red.
Another Du Plessis penalty stretched the lead to five points, then a blindside break gave Waratahs winger Rob Horne a try that Foley converted for a two-point lead.
A second Du Toit try, converted by Du Plessis, put the hosts 30-25 ahead before Hooper struck the decisive blow for the Sydney side.