The Stormers added to the bottom-placed Reds' misery when they beat them 37-24 in a scrappy Super 14 match at Newlands on Saturday.
The five tries to two victory did very little for the Stormers' position on the standings. They are still 10th and the Reds last.
It was a long, long weekend in Cape Town and Capetonians love holidays and the chance to spread about their wonderful corner of the world. There was as a result a threadbare crowd at Newlands on a cold evening after the first heavy rains of winter.
The small crowd (21 000 in a big stadium) may also have had something to do with the predictability of the Stormers' "win one, lose one" pattern this season, which suggested that it was time to lose to the dull Reds this weekend. And then, too, their opponents were bottom of the Super 14 log - earnest but unlikely to set Newlands alight.
The Reds were indeed earnest but they lacked class. They have some good young players, but that is what they are - talented young players, not yet top Super 14 players.
The Stormers scored two tries in the first half. They had chances to score more. The Reds scored no tries and did not look like scoring any even when they did some multiphased attacking after a penalty-provided line-out in Stormers' territory. Then come the second half and they got two tries, both agauinst the run of play.
Grant scored the first penalty Clinton Schifcofske the next two, Grant the fourth and Schifcofske the fifth, and it was 9-6. By this stage there were more penalties than scrums and line-outs put together. But all the while the Stormers were the ones attacking and looking creative. Eventually the Reds were well and truly outclassed, the difference between the scores not nearly as great as the difference between the two teams.
The Stormers got the first try when the turned a penalty into a five-metre line-out and attacked till Luke Watson burst over and celebrated soccer fashion. Grant converted and the Stormers led 13-9. In the activity leading up to the try there were Red illegalities near their line for which the referee allowed advantage but his memory held and he sent prop David Te Moana to the sin bin.
While he was absent the Reds were again penalised near their posts and the Stormers opted for a scrum. Joe van Niekerk broke and passed inside to Watson who scored his second try. Just before half-time Schifcofske kicked his fourth penalty which made the score at the break 20-12.
Where the Reds had been heavily penalised in the first half and conceded also a yellow card, in the second half they were careful and penalised only once. Perhaps they were too careful for they yielded many turn-overs at tackle time and were overall no match for the Stormers who grew to confidence and then made fun and games of the match.
The first tries of the second half was a brilliant one. In the first half they had run from near their own line with Gerrie Britz pounding down the middle of the field. In the second half they started from even closer to their line. De Wet Barry got it going and gave to Russell who gave to Barry who gave to Russell who scored a glorious try. 27-12.
The Stormers were now handling like circus performers but it was the Reds who got a try when they tapped a penalty and gave Ben Tune an overlap. He raced 50 metres down the left touch line and rounded to score at the posts. 27-19. But it did not herald a change of fortune.
At the kick-off Andrew Walker lined up to kick for touch. |He did not make it. For the second time in the match he had a kick charged down and this time short Brent Russell charged down and got the high bouncing ball and scored. 32-19 with 20 minutes to play and a host of substitutions.
Van Niekerk scored next as the Stormers rushed onto the attack. Bolla Conradie changed direction brilliantly and Van Niekerk picked a pass off his toes to force his were way over in the corner. 37-19.
Again against the run of play the Reds got a try after David Croft had burst down the middle. They kicked a penalty out five metres from the goal-line and, while the Stormers slept, played to the front and back again for a try by Sean Hardman.
Man of the Match: Of course Schalk Burger was candidate as he is week after week and so were Jean de Villiers and Brok Harris and Conrad Jantjes and others. But the man who provided the electricity as he scurried about Newlands is our Man of the Match - Brent Russell.
For the Stormers
Tries: Watson 2, Russell 2, Van Niekerk
Cons: Grant 3
Pens: Grant 2
For the Reds
Tries: Tune, Hardman
Pens: Schifcofske 4
Yellow card: David Te Moana (Reds, 25 - repeated infringements, collapsing the maul)
Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 Jean De Villiers, 12 De Wet Barry, 11 Brent Russell, 10 Peter Grant, 9 JP Joubert, 8 Joe Van Niekerk, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Luke Watson (c), 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Gerrie Britz, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 JD Moller
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Eddie Andrews, 19 Francois Van Der Merwe, 20 Bolla Conradie, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Corne Uys
Reds: 15 Clinton Schifcofske, 14 Andrew Walker, 13 Ben Tune, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Brando Va'aulu, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic Berry, 8 Tom McVerry, 7 David Croft, 6 Mitch Chapman, 5 James Horwill, 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 David Te Moana, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Tama Tuirirangi.
Replacements: 16 Sean Hardman, 17 Herman Hunt, 18 Cam Treloar, 19 Jeff Abraham, 20 Will Genia, 21 Andrew Brown, 22 Henari Veratau
Referee: Steve Walsh (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand), Pro Legoete (South Africa)
Television match official: Sean Veldsman (South Africa)
Assessor: Brendan McCormick