So near for Stormers

2014-03-09 14:00

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Just days after what was described as a “100-year storm” the good men of Christchurch had to weather another – this one inflicted yesterday by an aptly named team from South Africa.

The Stormers buffeted the Crusaders with intense ferocity, but in the end the Cantabrians displayed their famed resilience and Kieran Read and his men were able to eke out a 14-13 win.

The Stormers have never beaten the Crusaders in New Zealand and, such was their ascendancy, it was hardly plausible that the result again went against them in this game.

With Schalk Burger rekindling the fire of his youth and bringing to bear the kind of destructive menace that just a year ago seemed unlikely as he fought serious illness, the Stormers took the fight to the home-side and silenced a crowd unaccustomed to seeing their team so bottled up.

Burger, who was here, there and everywhere – inspiring the Storm troopers’ defiant defence – put the seal on a fine performance by playing the key role in his team’s try.

He fell back to field a kick, ran the ball back and then, with an intuitive understanding born out of having played successive levels of schoolboy rugby at the same time, floated an adroit pass to Jean de Villiers.

The skipper broke clear before putting through a neat kick for Damian de Allende to chase down the ball and score.

After the conversion, the Stormers led 13-6 with 19 minutes left to play and will be left ruing two lapses in concentration that allowed the Crusaders to overpower them.

They were caught unaware by a quick, short throw-in at a line-out, which set in motion the build-up to Kieron Fonotia’s try and then, with just five minutes to go, Michael Rhodes strayed out of the rigid defensive line and was blown up for offside, enabling Tom Taylor to kick what turned out to be the winning penalty.

.?Other results: Hurricanes 21, Brumbies 29; Reds 43, Cheetahs 33; Force 32, Rebels 7.



Try: Kieron Fonotia

Penalties: Tom Taylor (3)


Try: Damian de Allende

Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis

Penalties: Catrakilis (2)

FRIDAY: Chiefs vs Stormers, Rebels vs Crusaders

SATURDAY: Hurricanes vs Cheetahs, Highlanders vs Force, Brumbies vs Waratahs, Lions vs Blues, Sharks vs Reds

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