Stormers escape with Singapore draw

    2016-05-14 16:17

    Cape Town - Vincent Koch scored a try in the last minute as the Stormers came from 14 points down to snatch a 17-17 draw against Super Rugby newcomers the Sunwolves at Singapore's National Stadium on Saturday.

    As it happened: Sunwolves v Stormers

    Pieter-Steph du Toit also scored for the Stormers who extended their lead in the South African group standings with the draw while denying the Sunwolves their second Super Rugby win.

    Despite the result, Stormers coach Robbie Fleck was scathing in his assessment of his team's lacklustre display.

    "We certainly don't deserve the two points, we weren't good enough," he said.

    "Credit to the Sunwolves. They were very good and they put us under heaps of pressure but certainly from our point of view we were really disappointed with our performance."

    Japanese winger Akihito Yamada scored a try and had another disallowed as the Sunwolves looked certain to pull off a huge upset only to fade in the last 20 minutes on a hot and humid night in Singapore.

    Yamada, who had already scored four times in his team's two previous matches at their adopted second home, took over as the tournament's leading tryscorer with his eighth touchdown this season when he dived over from the back of a ruck in the 13th minute.

    He was initially awarded a second try five minutes into the second half but the score was cancelled out by the television match official after replays showed that Yamada had not properly grounded the ball.

    "Of course there's a feeling it got away but we can't lose sight of what happened in that first 79 minutes," Sunwolves coach Mark Hammett said.

    "There's a lot of positives right throughout the game, both collectively and individually.

    "I'm hugely proud of the team and I'm hugely proud of that game because I thought we were the better team."

    The Sunwolves flyhalf Tusi Pisi booted his fourth penalty shortly after to give the fledgling Asian franchise a commanding 17-3 lead before the Stormers took control and began to turn their domination of the set pieces into points.

    The Sunwolves blew an 18-point lead when they lost to the Cheetahs at Singapore in March and their supporters feared another meltdown when du Toit scored a try off the back of a driving maul and Jean-Luc du Plessis nailed the difficult conversion to cut the margin to seven points with 20 minutes left on the clock.

    The Sunwolves had the chance to shoot for a penalty that would have given them a 10-point lead with three minutes to go but opted instead for the lineout and paid dearly when the Stormers launched one last raid in the final minute.

    Koch, who had fresh legs after coming on as a replacement, crashed over for the try and reserve kicker Brandon Thomson calmly added the conversion to seal the draw.

    "Certainly we showed a lot of character to come back and get the draw," Fleck said. "Some tough words were said at halftime, just a bit of honesty, but we certainly weren't good enough.

    "We can look for a lot of excuses but we're not that kind of outfit. We'll take it on the chin. It was a bad day at the office."

    In next weekend's Round 13 action, the Sunwolves travel to Brisbane to face the Reds (Saturday, May 21 at 07:05 SA time), while the Stormers have a crucial date with the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld (Saturday, May 21 at 19:20).



    15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa (captain), 11 John Stewart, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Fa’atiga Lemalu, 4 Timothy Bond, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Takeshi Kizu, 1 Masataka Mikami

    Substitutes: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Taiyo Ando, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Mifiposeti Paea


    15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kobus van Wyk, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg

    Substitutes:16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Huw Jones

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