The Stormers will meet the Bulls in next weekend's Super 14 Final after beating the Waratahs 25-6 in Cape Town on Saturday.
The Stormers will meet the Bulls in next weekend's Super 14 Final after beating the Waratahs 25-6 in Cape Town on Saturday, thanks primarily to the boot of fly-half Peter Grant.
The hard-fought semi-final result sets up an all-South African hit-out at Soweto's Orlando Stadium – the Stormers' first-ever appearance in a Super Rugby final.
Allister Coetzee's team were on top for most of the 80 minutes at Newlands, but their only try came in the form of Juan de Jongh's 25th minute effort.
Despite the best efforts of the Australian side to get back in the game they lacked the required possession and made too many mistakes, leaving them with a grand total of just 12 points from their two encounters against the Stormers this season.
For the Stormers, semi-finalists in 1999 and 2004, it sets up a rematch with their up-country rivals and defending champions in Soweto.
They could have been behind early on when the Waratahs had a chance to put points on the board, but Berrick Barnes dragged his penalty wide.
Grant made no mistake with his first attempt at goal, slotting over after nine minutes to put the home side ahead when the visitors were caught offside. He had his second chance not long after – as Phil Waugh made an illegal entry into the ruck – and doubled the lead.
A dangerous tackle from lock Andries Bekker presented Barnes with another chance to get the Waratahs on the board, which the Australia international this time duly took.
The game then settled down with errors at key moments preventing either side from adding further points. That was until the 24th minute when scrum-half Luke Burgess spotted Barnes in space, allowing his half-back partner to send over a drop goal to level the scores.
But any joy from that kick was short-lived with the first try of the game arriving from the subsequent kick-off. De Jongh, who collected a flat pass from Grant, cleverly side-stepped two defenders and his momentum carried him over for the line.
Grant added the conversion from right in front to make it 13-6 and another long-range penalty miss from Barnes meant the score remained the same at half-time.
After the restart, Grant uncharacteristically missed a penalty chance – dragging his 40-metre effort to the left – but made amends with a similar kick that extended the lead to 10 points with 50 minutes on the clock.
The Stormers number 10 then added three further three-pointers – the last of which was from over 50 metres – as the hosts sealed an easy victory.
Man of the match: There are a few contenders in the Stormers' ranks that come to mind – Schalk Burger and Juan de Jongh producing quality performances in the forwards and back respectively. But Peter Grant's personal haul of 20 match-winning points cannot be ignored. It seems Bok coach Peter de Villiers may have found his back-up to Morne Steyn after all…
Try: De Jongh
Pens: Grant 6
Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen; 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan De Jongh, 11 Bryan Habana; 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (c), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg and 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Eusebio Guinazu, 18 Anton van Zyl, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Willem De Waal, 22 Tim Whitehead.
Waratahs: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Phil Waugh (c), 6 Patrick McCutcheon, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Dan Palmer.
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Chris Thomson, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Josh Holmes, 21 Daniel Halangahu, 22 Rory Sidey.
Referee: Mark Lawrence
By Dave Morris