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Stormers win dour Newlands scrap

Sat, 13 Apr 2013 16:50
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Just one try in scrappy affair
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The Stormers kept alive their Super Rugby play-off hopes with a dour 22-15 win over the Sharks at Newlands on Saturday.

In a scrappy arm-wrestle, where the skills levels were well below of acceptable standard for professional players, the Stormers scored the only try - a rare ray of light in an otherwise dull match.

The Stormers took four points from the match, Sharks just one - that losing bonus point keeping the Sharks at the top of the South African conference.

They are two teams who seem not to like each other and they are close, close rivals. The Sharks had won the last three, including last year's at Newlands.

They have been mostly dour affairs - just eight tries in the last three matches. This time the Sharks came as leader of the South African conference, the Stormers after just two wins in six matches. Now in 20 matches between the two each has won 10 times.

This match conformed to tradition - a hard-fought affair with just one try. It was the sort of game that made the spectator wave in the stadium an appealing activity.

For one thing, there was some of the most meaningless kicking you will ever see at this level.

Dewaldt Duvenage kicks from a ruck down into the Sharks' half and the next thing the Stormers are watching the Sharks throw into a line-out five metres from their line. Joe Pietersen kicks a long way downfield and the next thing Patrick Lambie goals a penalty from slap in front of the Stormers' posts.

One could go on.

The value of a kick is revealed only when and where you next get the ball.

Passing and running were obviously much better options.

Despite the rivalry, the ferocity of all collisions and the close, dourness of the match, it was played honourably.

Three Stormers players went for concussion tests - Gary van Aswegen, De Kock Steenkamp and Deon Fourie. Only Fourie did not return to carry on. Two Sharks left with bleeding faces - Pieter-Steph du Toit and Kyle Cooper. They both returned. Van Aswegen was laid waste by Cobus Reinach after he had passed but there was no obvious cause for the other four's injuries,

There were 41 847 noisy spectators at Newlands for this match on a still autumn afternoon. There was cheering, flags were waving, fireworks crashed and a noisy countdown to kick-off. There were also dancing girls who held up placards when kicks were taken at goal, reading QUIET PLEASE. Newlands was well aware that being a spectator could become increasingly unpleasant and even dangerous.

The Stormers kicked off and had the best of the first half. JP Pietersen was penalised at a tackle and Joe Pietersen goaled. 3-0 after 5 minutes. Francois van der Merwe went offside and it was 6-0 after 11 minutes and then Keegan Daniel tackled high. 9-0 after 19 minutes.

The Stormers ran a maul from a line-out over several metres and  the Sharks went through several phases. Duvenage was penalised for deliberately knocking on and when the sharks tapped Gio Aplon was not back 10 metres. Lambie goaled. 9-3 after 28 minutes.

There was not a lot to get enthusiastic about until, suddenly, Michael Rhodes charged down the midfield from a line-out. Eager Siya Kolisi tried to carry it on and then quick ball went right. Jean de Villiers forced a halfgap and in the halfgap gave Juan de Jongh the sweetest of little passes. The centre handed off big Frans Steyn and scored the only try of the match - a gem of a try, made all the brighter and more beautiful for being rare, offset against a sombre background.; 16-3 after 36 minutes.

Just before half-time Duvenage was penalised for being ahead of a silly kick and Lambie made the score 16-6.

The Stormers' flanks were penalised at a tackle. 16-9 after 48 minutes.

The Stormers neglected the ball at the back of a ruck and Reinach swooped on it. If he had got it he would have scored but he knocked on.

Odwa Ndungane caught a box kick, got tackled and was the penalised. 19-9 after 56 minutes.

The Sharks had a five-metre line-out and the Stormers were penalised for collapsing a maul. 19-12 after 62 minutes.

The Stormers bashed from a scrum and Joe Pietersen missed a drop. They ran a maul over the line but were held up. They had a five-metre scrum, Tendai Mtawarira was penalised and Pietersen goaled. 22-12 to put the Sharks out of bonus-point range.

At this stage the crowd cheered when the Sharks knocked on. Down the left wing debutant Sean Robinson raced and kicked towards the Stormers' goal-line where replacement hooker Martin Bezuidenhout saved. The siren went, the Sharks attacked and Kurt Coleman was penalised at a tackle. Lambie kicked the goal which gave the Sharks a bonus point.

It was not a thrilling match.

Man of the Match:  Jean de Villiers had some moments, Cobus Reinach was lively and Joe Pietersen's was able add speed but it was hard to consider the back. Amongst the forwards there were industrious Marcell Coetzee, and Pieter-Steph du Toit and Kyle Cooper, both so hard to bring down. And in the Stormers side there are Steven Kitshoff, ever-improving De Kock Steenkamp, zealous Siya Kolisi and our choice of Man of the Match, Andries Bekker who jumps, runs, shoves and tackles to such effect. Juan de Jongh brought the Stormers out because it was his 50th match and Bekker came on with dainty feet so that the crowd could acknowledge that he was the Stormers first centurion.

The scorers:

For the Stormers:
Try:
De Jongh
Con: Pietersen
Pens: Pietersen 5

For the Sharks:
Pens:
Lambie 5

Teams:

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Cheslin Kolbe.

Sharks: 15 Francois Steyn, 14 JP Pieterse, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Sean Robinson, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Ryan Kankowski, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Tera Mtembu, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Riaan Viljoen, 22 Odwa Ndungane.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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