The Stormers tiptoed their way to a mind-numbing 26-13 win over the Lions at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Stormers tiptoed their way to a mind-numbing 26-13 Super 14 win over the Lions at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
In the penultimate game of Round One in this year's tournament, the Stormers took a conservative approach in securing their first win of the season in a match that left spectators begging for some – if any – form of action.
By far the dullest match of the weekend, the Lions could do nothing more than provide Joe Pietersen with plentiful opportunities to nudge his side ahead with penalty kick after penalty kick, with which the Stormers full-back duly obliged with four of them.
His opposite number Earl Rose was able to return the favour with two of his own, but it counted for very little once Pietersen was over the line with the Stormers' first try thanks to some brilliant play from new recruit Bryan Habana.
The former Bulls winger kept the Lions guessing all day, and it came as no surprise that he'd eventually lend a hand in a Stormers' score. This came quite literally with a brilliant pass, after joining the attacking line, to the open Pietersen who finished off superbly in the corner for a seven-pointer.
As well constructed as the try was, it only came in the 35th minute of the game which gives a good indication of what the crowd at Coca-Cola Park were forced to sit through. It was by pure chance that I managed to switch over in time for Habana's score from the much more exhilarating Six Nations game between Wales and Scotland… but back to Johannesburg!
With four minutes of the first half left to go and the Lions thirteen points adrift, the hosts would have felt down but certainly not out. That was until centre Jaque Fourie slam-dunked his former team-mates out of contention with the second try of the match, which effectively took the score out for reach for the Lions.
Pietersen was once again successful with the conversion which took his personal points tally of the first half to 21 points – an excellent contribution in his own right as the Stormers headed into the half-time sheds 26-6 in front.
The second half was worse than the first, as the Stormers failed to capitalise on their promising end to the opening 40 minutes and finished the game scoreless after the break.
Instead it was the Lions who tried in vain to keep themselves in the hunt with a more gutsy display that earned them a well-earned converted try to replacement back Michael Killian.
Pietersen's aim took a turn for the worst with three missed shots at goal that would have painted a better picture for the visitors. But with nothing more than two converted tries and four penalties in the first half, the Stormers were forced to settle for a rather disappointing win.
Pens: Rose 2
Tries: Pietersen, Fourie
Pens: Pietersen 4
Lions: 15 Earl Rose, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Deon van Rensburg, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 JP Joubert, 8 Jonathan Mokuena, 7 Franco van der Merwe, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar (c), 5 Willem Stoltz, 4 Jacques Lombard, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Charles Emslie, 17 JC van Rensburg, 18 Todd Clever, 19 Jacques Coetzee, 20 Derrick Minnie, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Michael Killian.
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 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Referee:Jaco Peyper (South Africa)