Cape Town - The Stormers moved to the top of the South African Super Rugby conference after beating the Melbourne Rebels 31-15 at Newlands on Saturday night.
As it happened: Stormers v Rebels
The hosts, who led 18-7 at the break, ran in three tries in a display again characterised by dominance at scrum time.
However, it was the Cape side’s inability to claim a vital four-try bonus point which should have their fans worried.
Several promising attacking opportunities were squandered by poor handling, while some gaping holes in midfield will leave coach Allister Coetzee with much to ponder.
Wing Dillyn Leyds was sharp in scoring a brace of tries to earn himself the man-of-the-match accolade.
He received a gift on the stroke of half-time when the Rebels opted to run from close to their own tryline.
The hooter had already sounded and all the visitors needed to do was boot out and take a six-point deficit into the half-time break.
But they opted to run from deep, only to see an alert Leyds intercept and score to give the Stormers an 18-7 lead at the interval.
Leyds scored his second try early in the second half after the Stormers had annihilated the Rebels at scrum time.
They pushed their Australian counterparts backwards by a good 20m before scrumhalf Louis Schreuder broke blind, off-loading to Leyds, who broke inside for a spectacular score.
Leyds’s second try put the Stormers 28-10 ahead after 45 minutes.
It was the perfect launch-pad for them to hunt a bonus point try as well as a big win.
But the Australian side never gave up and ran at the Stormers from all parts, scoring another try via wing Tom English but were never able to bridge the gap.
With the Lions earlier beating the Cheetahs 40-17 in Bloemfontein, the Stormers needed to win to top the South African Conference.
The victory saw them claim their ninth win from 13 outings and they are now favourites to top the SA Conference at season’s end, which will assure them of a playoffs spot.
However, much improvement is needed if they are to mount a serious challenge in the knockout phases.
In next weekend’s action, the Stormers host the Cheetahs at Newlands, while the Rebels travel to Durban to face the Sharks at Kings Park.
Tries: Damian de Allende, Dillyn Leyds (2)
Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (2)
Penalties: Catrakilis (4)
Tries: Dom Shipperley, Tom English
Conversion: Mike Harris
Penalty: Jack Debreczeni
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Seabelo Senatla, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7. Siya Kolisi, 6. Schalk Burger, 5. Manuel Carizza, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Ali Vermaak, 18. Vincent Koch, 19. Jean Kleyn, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Nic Groom, 22. Kurt Coleman, 23. Huw Jones
15. Mike Harris, 14. Cam Crawford, 13. Dom Shipperley, 12. Mitch Inman, 11. Tom English, 10. Jack Debreczeni, 9. Nic Stirzaker, 8. Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7. Scott Fuglistaller, 6. Sean McMahon, 5. Lopeti Timani, 4. Luke Jones, 3. Paul Alo-Emile, 2. Pat Leafa, 1. Cruze Ah-Nau
Substitutes: 16. Tom Sexton, 17. Keita Inagaki, 18. Laurie Weeks, 19. Cadeyrn Neville, 20. Jordy Reid, 21. Colby Fainga’a, 22. Luke Burgess, 23. Bryce Hegarty