Stormers wreak havoc

2010-04-17 00:00

THE Stormers, slick, stylish and spirited, gained one of their more remarkable wins in Super 14 rugby when they thumped the Chiefs 49-15 in Hamilton early yesterday.

The Stormers’ six-try victory swept them to the top of the log where they are sitting pretty on 33 points. They are level with the champion Bulls, who have still to play their ninth game and face the Queensland Reds in Brisbane today.

The Cape Town-based side have been far more impressive in beating first the Blues in Auckland last weekend and then the Chiefs yesterday than they were for their home games at Newlands. Their defence, easily the most effective in the competition, was again impressive yesterday, but it was their control of possession and their try-scoring ability which suggest they are genuine title contenders.

The victory came just a few hours after All Black coach Graham Henry told the New Zealand media that the Stormers were the best team in the Super 14. His words proved inspirational and the Stormers, on the back of strong performances by towering lock Andries Bekker — both up front and in making line-breaks in midfield — Schalk Burger and Jaque Fourie, were seldom under threat.

“It was awesome,” captain Burger said later. “I’m delighted with the players and their accuracy and structure. We showed we can score tries as well as defend.”

It was the most balanced of performances, mixing sublime attack with wholehearted defence. Peter Grant steered the ship astutely from flyhalf, and succeeded with seven of his nine attempts at goal.

There were several sniping runs from the nippy Gio Aplon from fullback — though a trip on Tim Nanai Williams could land him in trouble — while hooker Tiaan Liebenberg and number eight Duane Vermeulen were others to impress in an excellent team showing.

The Stormers also produced the try of this year’s Super 14 in a counter-attack from their own quarter, which featured a dozen passes before Bryan Habana scored.

After winning their first three games of the season, the Chiefs have tumbled to their fifth loss from nine games as they failed to control their possession.

Captain Liam Messam praised the Stormers.

“They were really on fire and came at us. The Stor­mers are a very good side and can mix up their game.”

The Stormers now travel to Brisbane to face the Reds and then return home to face the Crusaders, the Sharks (in Durban) and the Bulls at Newlands. They will all be tough games, but the Stor­mers have the momentum and two more wins should seal a semi-final spot.

SCORERS

Chiefs — Tries: Tanerau Latimer, Tim Nanai-Williams. Conversion: Stephen Donald. Penalty: Donald.

Stormers — Tries: Bryan Habana, Duane Vermeulen, Tiaan Liebenberg, Sireli Naqelevuki, Andries Bekker, Deon Fourie. Conversions: Peter Grant (4), Willem de Waal. Penalties: Grant (3)

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