The Stormers claimed a crucial bonus point win as they beat the Rebels 57-31 in their Super Rugby clash in Melbourne on Saturday.
It was an 11-try thriller in Melbourne as both teams attacked from all areas of the field although the visitors’ dominant forward display – especially in the set-pieces – laid the foundation to their victory.
The battle of the tens was evident as Jean-Luc Du Plessis and Jack Debreczeni both had fantastic all-round games for their sides, andthe duo were rewarded with a try apiece.
The Rebels dominated the Stormers in the first 10 minutes and were rewarded when Sefa Naivalu and Ben Meehan crossed for early tries, after Du Plessis had opened the scoring via the kicking tee in the second minute.
The men from Melbourne showed some enterprising attack off the few line-outs they won and Debreczeni broke the line to give a beautifully timed pass out wide to Naivalu who didn’t have much work to do as he ran it in for his try.
Meehan then got over the whitewash from a Rebels maul close to the Stormers’ five-metre line. Although the visitors had their hands on the pill, Meehan aggressivley ripped the ball out and spun into the space on the blindside before a short dart to the try line.
Du Plessis kept his side in the game after the young play-maker chipped the ball behind the Rebels’ line, just outside the opposition 22-metre line. Jaco Taute was the intended recipient, but he knocked it back and du Plessis collected ff the floor and sprinted towards the line for the try.
At 28 minutes the Rebels scrum was in tatters, thanks to a well orchestestrated Stormers push. The Rebels were in such disarray they brought on Laurie Weeks for Cruze Ah Nau.
The Rebels looked like they going to start a comeback after Jonah Placid scored his side’s third try to put them back in front, Pieter-Steph du Toit made a valient tackle on the speedster but Placid was just able to dot it down.
The Stormers extended their lead via another Du Plessis penalty before Vincent Koch barged over from close quarters for their second try in the 33rd minute.
Du Plessis added the extras but a Debreczeni penalty meant the Stormers were leading 23-17 at half-time.
The statistics at the end of the opening period were incredibly telling of the game. The Stormers must have put a lot of work into their line-outs during the international break as they poached several of the home side’s balls in this facet of play. The Rebels lost three of their own line-outs and also lost four of their scrums as the Stormers wheeled them around the park.
The Stormers had 57 per cent of the possession in the first half, forcing the Rebels to make the lion’s share of the tackles with 54 to the Stormers’ 38.
The Rebels were fastest out of the blocks in the second half, with a converted Jonah Placid try in the 52 minute putting them them back in front.
But just like the first half, their set piece issues continued and after a masterful kick down field from du Plessis, the Rebels lost their own line-out on their own five-metre line, and Etzebeth barged over. The possession statistics didn’t change much as the Stormers finshed the game with 55 per cent to the Rebels 45.
But once again, the home side didn’t surrender and Debreczeni crossed the whitewash after Tom English did well in the build-up.
That was the last time the Rebels would score points, however. Their discipline also let them down as they conceded nine penalties and received a yellow card on the hour-mark when Adam Thomson was given a yellow card for collapsing the Stormers’ maul five metres from his side’s line.
Sikhumbuzo Notshe made a real difference to the Stormers’ intensity during the game’s latter stages. In the 69th minute, Nizaam Carr’s replacement went in for contact but wasn’t held and broke the line expertly. He found Damian de Allende inside him who sprinted past the cover defence and dotted the ball down.
Leolin Zas then scored in the 75th minute, after intercepting a Mike Harris pass out wide, before Scara Ntubeni secured his side’s bonus point when he barged overe from close quarters just before the final wnhistle.
Tries: Naivalu, Meehan, Placid, Debreczeni
Cons: Debreczeni 3
Yellow card: Thomson
Tries: du Plessis, Koch, Etzebeth, Groom, De Allende, Zas, Ntubeni
Cons: du Plessis 5
Pens: du Plessis 4
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Jonah Placid, 13 Sefa Naivalu, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Colby Fainga’a 7, Sean McMahon (c), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Toby Smith, 2 James Hanson, 1 Cruze Ah Nau
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Adam Thomson, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Mitch Inman, 23 Paul Asquith
Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Daniel du Plessis, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Schalk Burger (c), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Louis Schreuder, 23 Scott van Breda
Date: Saturday, July 2
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19:45 local (09:45 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Amy Perrett (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)