CAPE TOWN – The Stormers conceded more than 50 points for the second time in a row as they were hammered 57-14 by the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday morning.
The hosts scored nine tries to the Stormers’ two, and the Stormers failed miserably to combat the pressure and the tempo of the opposition. Weakening work at the breakdown as the game progressed, scrappy handling and an inability to finish whenever they got into opposition 22 cost the Cape Town team dearly.
The Stormers opened the scoring with an absolutely stunning try when No 8 Nizaam Carr rounded off superb team play in the first quarter. It all started back in own 22 when fullback SP Marais produced a great run in his 22 before the Stormers took the ball through the hands to find skipper Siya Kolisi out wide, who made a fantastic break followed by a top offload to put Carr away (0-7).
The Stormers, whose defensive line looked good in the early stages, became guilty of basic defensive errors again when SP Marais and Cheslin Kolbe came off their line and left a dangerous gaps out wide, which was exploited by the Kiwis when left wing Patrick Osborne turned up the pace to score (7-7).
The Highlanders scored their second when inside centre Rob Thompson snatched up a loose ball after a kick and sent a brilliant backdoor offload to fullback Ben Smith, who gave a quick pass to wing Waisake Naholo on his outside to score (12-7).
Osborne scored his second after a shocking attempted up-and-under by Stormers flyhalf Robert du Preez, which led to a favourable bounce for the Highlanders (17-7).
The Highlanders’ fourth try came when swopped their exciting play up with some very effective mauling to send Liam Squire over for the try (24-7).
Inside centre Rob Thompson took the half time score to 31-7 for the hosts after receiving a great offload from Osborne, who dragged two defenders with him before getting the ball away.
The ugliness continued in the second half as the Highlanders ran in three more tries before replacement scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage scored a consolation try for the visitors. But the Highlanders had the final say when replacement back Matt Faddes added even more salt to the Stormers’ cruelly-exposed rugby wounds with another try.
Highlanders: Tries: Patrick Osborne (2), Waisake Naholo (2), Liam Squire, Rob Thompson, Dillon Hunt, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Matt Faddes Conversions: Marty Banks (4) Yellow cards: Aki Seiuli
Stormers: Tries: Nizaam Carr, Dewaldt Duvenage Conversions: Robert du Preez