We have become accustomed to the winning ways of the Stormers in the past two seasons, albeit not always as attractive and the running-style rugby, we as fans want to see, but effective, winning rugby.
The past weekend saw the Stormers record yet another win, this time the second leg of the derby against the Lions at Newlands. In my opinion, it was the first time the Stormers’ players and coaching staff can stake claim that they played a near 80minutes of rugby. Usually either we played well in the first halve and then the second half defend our lead. But this time, we were forced to keep going. The Lions played very well, they were well-motivated for the clash with a point to prove. Unlucky for them, as for much of their season, could not pull it through especially not against the best defence in Super Rugby. The Lions gave us a hard time at scrum time as well as in the collisions and breakdown areas.
With the half time siren sounding, the score 13-3 in favor of the hosts and Gio Aplon the sole try scorer, receiving the pass from Peter Grant and Gio simply had to fall over the tryline with about 3 other players on his outside who could also easily have scored. The Stormers had some work to do in the second half. But the task was made harder by the Lions’ skipper, Josh Strauss, scoring the first try for his side. From there is was a hard contested battle to gain metres. But the Stormers held firm on defence, as well as building their phases when ball in hand. The possession stats show that the Stormers enjoyed 60% of the ball, which is good for us going forward, and that possession gave us the chance to score some more points. Canadian import, Jebb Sinclair and Gerhard van den Heever, crossing the Lions’ tryline in the last 10mins of the game and sealing the victory. The last try of the game came from a brave, fighting Lions team and Franco van der Merwe having the last say, but all in vain, as the victory was in the bag.
Overall I’m pleased with this win, showcasing some of the depth we have, with some really big names set for return before the play-offs, things should be very positive in the Stormers camp. Very close to the four try bonus point but that wasn’t to be. We need to keep our winning momentum now moving into the play-off stages. But things are definitely looking good, bring on the Cheetahs…