Cape Town — Evan Roos and Herschel Jantjies sparked the Stormers into life in the second half to inspire a 30-16 bonus-point victory over Clermont Auvergne at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
With that result, they also secured a Champions Cup home playoff as they clinched a top-four finish in Pool B.
The French club were stubborn throughout the first half and actually led 6-3 at halftime via two Anthony Belleau penalties.
The Stormers battled to get their game going in the opening 40 minutes as they lacked the cutting edge with ball-in-hand, while halfbacks Stefan Ungerer and Kade Wolhuter kicked a bit too much.
Clermont were also more aggressive in contact and forced several knock-ons by ripping the ball in the tackle, and the Stormers were penalised heavily at the breakdowns by English referee Christophe Ridley.
But coach John Dobson brought on the cavalry six minutes into the second half as Roos, Jantjies and Jean-Luc du Plessis came on for Willie Engelbrecht, Ungerer and Wolhuter, and it made all the difference.
Suddenly the Stormers were able to get into their attacking flow, and it was star No 8 Roos who made the hard yards at close quarters with a couple of surging runs that knocked the Clermont defenders backwards.
Roos inspired the rest of the pack to climb in too, and that provided the extra space for the likes of cousins Jean-Luc and Dan du Plessis, as well as Ruhan Nel and Damian Willemse to get their hands on the ball more often.
Belleau gave the Stormers the opening they needed when he was yellow-carded for slapping the ball deliberately into touch inside his own 22, and from the resultant lineout, it was that man Roos who broke away from the maul to barge his way over in the 48th minute and put his team into the lead for the first time.
With the crowd finding their voice after resorting to the ‘Mexican Wave’ in a forgettable first half, Clermont appeared to crumble under the pressure.
They missed touch from a penalty, and then kicked the ball straight into touch to hand the Stormers further momentum.
The second try of the night followed in the 52nd minute, and it was started and finished by Jantjies. The Springbok scrumhalf has been battling for form this season, but looked like his old self by adding real zip to the attack with his quick clearing from the base.
He moved the ball to the right, where quicksilver young wing Suleiman Hartzenberg pulled off some audacious footwork to somehow beat the first defender, before flinging a pass inside to Jantjies, who went all the way.
Cape Town Stadium erupted, and the spectators were soon into full party mode when Dan du Plessis finished off the best touchdown of the game.
It was Roos again who gave the impetus by smashing over the advantage line, followed by hooker Joseph Dweba, before Man-of-the-Match Du Plessis sliced through the middle for a terrific score.
The result was secured by then with a 25-9 lead, and then it was about hunting the four-try bonus point.
Clermont didn’t give up, though, and a long pass by Hartzenberg in the opposition 22 was intercepted by star Argentina wing Bautista Delguy, who raced all the way to the tryline.
But the Stormers had found their touch, and weren’t going to deny their loyal supporters the bonus point.
It duly arrived via the good old driving maul in the 64th minute, with veteran flank Deon Fourie dotting down for a deserved five-pointer.
Stormers 30 – Tries: Evan Roos, Herschel Jantjies, Dan du Plessis, Deon Fourie. Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (2). Penalties: Kade Wolhuter (2).
Clermont 16 – Try: Bautista Delguy. Conversion: Gabin Michet (1). Penalties: Anthony Belleau (3).