Stormers edged in 'ding-dong' Sydney battle

    2018-02-24 12:39

    Lloyd Burnard

    Cape Town – A try after the hooter from Ned Hanigan saw the Waratahs edge the Stormers at the final hurdle in Sydney on Saturday, securing a 34-27 win in what was a cracking Super Rugby clash.

    It was a highly entertaining affair, with both sides having spent time in the lead at different stages. 

    For the most part, though, it was the Stormers who were playing catch up. Every time the Waratahs scored to reclaim the lead, the Capetonians hit back. 

    In the end, the visitors ran out of time and despite a good showing, they could not hold on to what would have been a valuable draw.

    Raymond Rhule was the man guilty of missing the tackle at the death.

    The contest took a while to get going, but the Stormers looked up to the challenge immediately as they edged territory and possession in the opening stages without reward. 

    We would have to wait until the 15th minute to see the first points when 'Tahs flyhalf Bernard Foley kicked a routine penalty after Siya Kolisi's deliberate knock down.

    That moment was the catalyst that the match needed, and what followed was a ding-dong battle. 

    Less than a minute after the Foley penalty the Stormers were ahead when Steven Kitshoff scored his first Super Rugby try following good link-up play down the left through SP Marais and Rhule.

    The Waratahs couldn't secure the ball off the restart and when Marais knocked over the conversion, the Stormers were 7-3 ahead. 

    It didn't last long, and a couple of minutes later Israel Folau bossed Stormers flyhalf Damian Willemse in the air after a bomb from Foley. Folau gathered and then cantered through to the try line untroubled.

    The Stormers hit back, this time through a Marais penalty after the Waratahs had failed to control the kick-off once again.

    Marais, at the centre of many big moments on the night, was at fault for the Waratahs' second try. The Stormers fullback looked to run from his own try line and was instead tackled into touch. 

    Michael Hooper scored for the hosts from the resulting lineout, and the Waratahs were 17-10 ahead. 

    The Stormers, though, were not going away and they would level matters before the break.

    This time the try was scored by Kobus van Dyk, who gathered a chip over the top from scrumhalf Dewald Duvenage. Van Dyk did well to gather and dot down in the right corner, and replays revealed that he had done it all legally and he would also be awarded his first Super Rugby try. 

    It was the Aussie side who started best after half-time, with hooker Damien Fitzpatrick rounding off a good move down the right. After wing Andrew Kellaway popped it back inside, Fitzpatrick was over uncontested.

    The Stormers were then dealt a massive blow when Willemse hobbled off injured, and at 24-17 down they needed to hit back for the fourth time on the night. 

    They did, and a lot of it had to do with their dominance at scrum time. 

    Turning down the three points to go for the try, the visitors destroyed the Waratahs in two scrums before Marais dived over from close range to make it 24-24. 

    The Waratahs were under pressure, being dominated at set piece and in the physical exchanges, and they would lose Rob Simmons to a yellow card on 56 minutes after dangerous play at the lineout.

    Another Foley penalty gave the Waratahs a 27-24 lead despite being down to 14 men, but Marais struck his second of the night from 45 metres to make it 27-27 just two minutes later.

    Going into the final 10 minutes, it would come down to who held their nerve when it mattered most.

    The Stormers would buckle as, after the hooter, they overcooked a lineout deep in their own territory, allowing the Waratahs to launch one more attack.



    Tries: Israel Folau, Michael Hooper, Damien Fitzpatrick, Ned Hanigan

    Conversions: Bernard Foley (4)

    Penalties: Foley (2)


    Tries: Steven Kitshoff, Kobus van Dyk, SP Marais

    Conversions: SP Marais (3)

    Penalty: Marais



    15 Israel Folau, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson

    Substitutes: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Mitch Short, 22Bryce Hegarty, 23 Alex Newsome


    15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff

    Substitutes: 16 Dean Muir, 17 JC Janse ven Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 George Whitehead, 23 EW Viljoen

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