Dunedin - The Highlanders banked a crucial bonus-point as they ran in
five tries in a substantial 39-21 victory over the Stormers in
Dunedin on Saturday.
As it happened: Highlanders 39-21 Stormers
After the Stormers scored first, the
Highlanders replied with 31 unanswered points to have the game secure
before the South Africans found the line again.
Waisake Naholo scored twice and his fellow Fijian wing Patrick Osborne also touched down along with Aaron Smith and Dan Pryor.
Juan de Jongh scored two for the Stormers with one for Michael Rhodes.
was a disappointing start to a tough Australasian road trip for the
Stormers and took the gloss off celebrations for Springbok great Schalk
Burger making his 100th Super appearance for the Stormers.
South Africa franchise, who next face the unbeaten Wellington Hurricanes
and then defending champions Waratahs, needed points to get their
journey off on the right foot.
They made the best possible start
when de Jongh, leading the side in place of the rested Duane Vermeulen,
scored first to finish a long Stormers build up.
But as the Stormers dominated the set pieces and operated in the right areas of the field, the breaks went the Highlanders' way.
"We took the most of our opportunities," Highlanders captain Ben Smith said.
Fijian brothers out wide did some very good work. The forwards played
really well and matched it with the big, physical Stormers pack."
the Stormers' opening try, the Highlanders struck back with Aaron Smith
dotting down against the front of the right-hand upright when his way
to the tryline was blocked.
Lima Sopoaga landed the conversion, a
penalty and then two more conversions as Naholo ran in two tries in the
countdown to half-time.
For his first try, Naholo intercepted a de
Jongh pass and ran 60 metres to the line, and for his second he crashed
over Stormers fullback Cheslin Kolbe, who is much shorter and 17
kilograms (37.5 pounds) lighter.
Osborne scored the bonus point
try early in the second half to put the Highlanders up 31-7 before
Rhodes replied for the Stormers.
With the gap down to 17 points and 20 minutes left the opportunity was there for the Stormers to stage a comeback.
a sustained attack was held up by a determined defence before the
Highlanders broke out for Dan Pryor to score their fifth try.
Jongh replied with his second try but by then the game was well beyond
the Stormers and replacement fly-half Marty Banks had the final say for
the Highlanders with a penalty on fulltime.
Tries: Aaron Smith, Waisake Naholo (2), Patrick Osborne, Dan Pryor
Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (4)
Penalties: Sopoaga, Marty Banks
Tries: Juan de Jongh (2), Michael Rhodes
Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis, Kurt Coleman
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Brendon Edmonds
Substitutes: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Pingi Tala'apitanga, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery
Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones