Stormers escape from Brumbies

Date published: May 9 2015

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The Stormers overturned a half-time deficit to claim a precious 25-24 Super Rugby victory over the Brumbies at Newlands on Saturday.

The Brumbies outscored their hosts two tries to one but were left to rue a late missed conversion by Christian Lealiifano that cost them victory.

The result sees the Stormers move level with the Bulls at the top of the South African conference while a losing bonus point is enough for the Brumbies to take the lead in the Australian group. The Stormers are now second overall with the Brumbies third.

The Brumbies were good value for their 16-9 lead at the interval thanks to the only try of the first half via wing Joe Tomane.

The Stormers paid the price for a string of simple handling errors in a bad-tempered game that featured plenty of swinging handbags but very few scoring opportunities for the hosts.

At least the Stormers could rely on their scrum for a few points and it was their dominance at the set piece that laid the platform for a try by veteran flanker Schalk Burger, just after the hour mark, that gave them the lead for the first time.

A late try from flank David Pocock should have put the Brumbies back in front but Lealiifano hit the post with the conversion to set up a tense finish.

Fly-halves Lealiifano and Demetri Catrakilis traded early penalties to leave the Brumbies leading 6-3 after ten minutes.

Stormers centre Damian de Allende was having a shocker and his botched grubber kick allowed Tomane to pounce on the loose ball and race home.  

Leali'ifano added the extras and when Jesse Mogg landed a penalty from inside his own half, the Brumbies were sitting pretty at 16-3 after half an hour. The lead could well have been greater but for a forward pass from Nic White that denied Tomane a second try.

The Stormers pack took the game by the scruff of the neck in the closing stages of the half and two more penalties from the boot of Catrakilis kept the hosts in touch.

Catrakilis was on target with his fourth penalty soon after the restart to bring his team within striking distance at 16-12.

The Stormers' scrum has been a vital source of points this season and yet another penalty courtesy of their set piece allowed Catrakilis to cut the gap to a single point.

The turning point came when Brumbies replacement lock Jorden Smiler was shown a yellow card for a silly tip tackle on Burger.

A series of scrums close to the Brumbies' line followed shortly thereafter and while the visitors managed to keep their props out of the sin bin, it was a matter of time before their 14-man defence gave way to a barrage of Stormers drives off the back of their forward-moving scrum.

Burger eventually wriggled over and Catrakilis added the simple conversion to put the Stormers 22-16 ahead.

Leali'ifano pulled three points back with his third penalty of the night but Catrakilis replied with a well-taken drop goal to restore the six-point lead going into the final 10 minutes.

The almost 30 000-strong crowd was stunned into silence though when Pocock ghosted through the middle of a line-out to score untouched.

Unbelievably, Leali'ifano's conversion effort from practically in front of the posts bounced off the upright to leave the Stormers ahead by the narrowest of margins.

Cue the home side to close out the game, never giving the Brumbies a sniff of the ball in the dying moments.

The scorers:

For Stormers:
Try: Burger
Con: Catrakilis
Pens: Catrakilis 5
Drops: Catrakilis

For Brumbies:
Tries: Tomane, Pocock
Con: Leali'ifano
Pens: Leali'ifano 3, Mogg
Yellow card: Smiler

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom,8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Robbie Coleman, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jorden Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.

Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Quinton Immelman
TMO: Shaun Veldsman

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