Planet Rugby

Stormers red-hot in Hamilton

16th April 2010 10:28

Share:

Schalk Burger v Chiefs

Schalk Burger: On the rampage in Hamilton

The Stormers took a giant step towards the Super 14 semi-finals with a scintillating 49-15 win over the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday.

The defeat spells the end of the Chiefs' campaign, after it had started so brightly with the away wins in the Republic. It's mildly ironic that it should have gone so woefully off the rails against South Africa's tourists. The injuries to the squad have not helped, but neither did the looseness of the Chiefs' play that gifted three of the Stormers' tries to them.

The other three tries were superb. For the first part of this tournament the Stormers were the dullest side out there, but the shackles have come off since they went on tour. There were two end-to-end tries here, two or three similar opportunities that went begging and any number of side-to-side handling movements and interplays. At times, it was just brilliant.

Right from the start, the Chiefs did not look on their game. In the first ten minutes alone, twice they lost ball by simply chucking it around and hoping it would stick. By contrast the visitors stayed patient and built slowly through the phases. The patience was rarely tested.

Peter Grant gave the Stormers the lead with a penalty after 11 minutes, moments after Sereli Naqelevuki had nearly made it to the line following a switch with Gio Aplon. Naqelevuki was trying to offload it when he knocked on, had he managed it the early damage could have been far worse.

The penalty count against the hosts was mounting though. Grant hit his second just to the left of the uprights before a rare foray into Stormers territory from the Chiefs gave Stephen Donald a chance to tie the game up from the tee after Francois Louw had put his hand in a ruck.

Almost immediately, the Stormers threatened the Chiefs line again, with only a midfield obstruction preventing Schalk Burger from scoring the first try. Instead it was left to Grant to give his side the lead back.

Finally, the Chiefs' line was breached after 23 minutes with arguably the try of the tournament so far.

Jaque Fourie started it in his own 22, before a combination of Burger, Naqelevuki, Louw and Tiaan Liebenberg took the ball almost to the Chiefs line. Louw was hauled down short and then the quick ball was sent out to Habana with a long looping pass from Grant. Habana had two metres to go.

It quickly got worse for the Chiefs. A long clearance fell to Aplon, who checked and accelerated through some appalling tackling. All he needed to do was time his pass to Duane Vermeulen, who powered home in the corner with Grant converting superbly from wide out.

Even when the home side did string some moves together, the bounce of the ball refused to go their way. Richard Kahui's dab through on the half-hour mark would have popped up into Sione Lauaki's hands on most days of any week, but on this one it jumped up from the turf like it had hit a coiled spring and bounded into touch with the tryline begging.

Then there was the chip by Tim Nanai-Williams, which Dwayne Sweeney even had under control before he lost it again in the tackle as he crashed over the line. When it's not your day, it's not your day.

At the third time of asking, the Chiefs did cross the whitewash. Lauaki took the ball powerfully off the back of a scrum and popped the ball up for Tanerau Latimer who coasted over under the posts to make it 20-10 at half-time.

So much for that though. Within five minutes of the restart the Stormers had the game wrapped up. Andries Bekker rumbled down the right ebfore the ball moved smartly from one side to the other, Habana straightened the line and Liebenberg crashed over.

Grant converted, added a penalty, and then it took only another five minutes for the Stormers to grab the bonus point, with some sublime side-to-side rugby culminating in Naqelevuki slicing through the stretched defence.

Bekker scored the fifth, stretching for the line after some patient forward driving, Deon Fourie notched the sixth after picking up a loose ball from a bout of hot potato by the Chiefs' inside backs.

In between, Tim Nanai-Williams scored a peach of a try for the Chiefs and the young full-back's display was a rare beacon of light on a dim evening for the home side - on a night when any thought of a semi-final was extinguished completely.

The win lifts the Stormers top of the table for 24 hours at least. On this form, who'd bet against them being there in five weeks' time?

Man of the match: It would be wrong to single out anyone from this Stormers display, so we'll go for a team award to the men from the Cape.

The scorers:

For the Chiefs:
Tries: Latimer, Nanai-Williams
Con: Donald
Pen: Donald

For the Stormers:
Tries: Habana, Vermeulen, Liebenberg, Naqelevuki, Bekker, D.Fourie
Cons: Grant 5
Pens: Grant 3

Chiefs: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Stephen Donald, 11 Dwayne Sweeney, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam (c), 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Vern Kamo, 17 Nathan White, 18 Romana Graham, 19 Colin Bourke 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Callum Bruce, 22 Jackson Willison.

Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Sireli Naqelevuki, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 François Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (c), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 JC Kritzinger, 18 Anton van Zyl, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Willem de Waal, 22 Tim Whitehead.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs SaleExeter vs Sale Preview
Bath vs WorcesterBath vs Worcester Preview
Wasps vs GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Preview
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Connacht vs MunsterConnacht vs Munster Preview
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Waratahs vs BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Preview
Sharks vs CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Preview
Stormers vs LionsStormers vs Lions Preview
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers2064
4Bath1959
5Harlequins2058