Rocking Roos return fires Stormers to bonus point win and home Champions Cup playoff

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Joseph Dweba. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
Joseph Dweba. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

For once this season, the Stormers shed their habit of delivering lukewarm second halves and it worked a treat as they ensured a home round of 16 playoff with a bonus point 30-16 triumph over Clermont at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.

However, the defending URC champions required a half-time rethink after producing dominant yet impotent first 40 minutes in terms of scoring, returning with a more purposeful and direct approach to score 27 points in the second stanza.

That knocked the stuffing out of a French combination, who overcame a week of upheaval following the dismissal of head coach Jono Gibbes to produce a wholehearted if somewhat limited performance.

The Stormers, whether it was down to mental fatigue from a hectic travel schedule or overconfidence emanating from a now 20-match winning streak at home, were tactically naive in the first half, trying to play too wide without earning the right to do so against an organised defence.

Poor ball protection at the breakdowns and a some soft handling errors meant they didn't create a single clear-cut try-scoring opportunity despite forcing Clermont to make over 100 tackles during that period.

Their discipline also waned, allowing the French side to set up relieving field position and then strike through the boot of flyhalf Anthony Belleau.

AS IT HAPPENED | Stormers v Clermont

Fortunately for the Stormers, Clermont lacked the appetite and nous to make more of their limited scoring opportunities, providing them the "solace" that their 70% possession and territory wasn't entirely wasted in trailing by 3-6 at the break.

Having taken a breather, the hosts introduced the Springbok duo of Evan Roos and Herschel Jantjies from the bench, who made an immediate impact.

Roos' first contribution was a powerful carry in midfield before he opened the Stormers' try account from a rolling maul that was resultant from Belleau's yellow card for a deliberate knockdown.

Jantjies then pounced on brilliant footwork from Suleiman Hartzenberg on the right touchline after the Alex Newsome's penalty to touch went over the dead-ball line, allowing the Stormers an unexpectedly decent field position.

Frustratingly for the French, Dan du Plessis' cracking, weaving run after a well-timed pass from a crouched Joseph Dweba was the direct consequence of an overcooked kick-off after the Jantjies' score.

Now back in their groove, the Stormers continued to run amok though an errant, expansive pass by Hartzenberg was picked off by Bautista Delguy.

Any thoughts of a tight finish evaporated when the irrepressible Deon Fourie, a nuisance on the ground yet again, was at the head of the maul that ensured the bonus point.         

Point scorers:

Stormers 30 (3)

Tries: Evan Roos, Herschel Jantjies, Dan du Plessis, Deon Fourie

Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (2)

Penalties: Kade Wolhurter (2)

Clermont 16 (6)

Try: Bautista Delguy

Conversion: Gabin Michet

Penalties: Anthony Belleau (3) 

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