Awesome Blues hand Stormers their first defeat of the season
CAPE TOWN – It's not so much the fact that they lost, more how they lost that was the most disappointing part of the Stormers' first Super Rugby defeat of the 2020 season.
Going into the match, Stormers fans had every reason to feel good about their team's chances against the Blues.
The Stormers were unbeaten after four rounds and had conceded only one try, against the Jaguares, at Newlands before yesterday.
In the build-up to the fixture, Stormers coach John Dobson had mentioned that they'd go out and target the Blues at the scrum. It's not an area where the Blues' stats look very impressive, and given the dominance the Stormers have enjoyed at the set-piece this season, there would have been little argument as to who would own the shoving battle.
But the hosts didn't have too easy a time at the scrum yesterday, something rather surprising given how the Kiwis were schooled in that area by the Bulls a number of times last week.
Another area that has been a key ingredient early in their campaign is their defence. Yesterday, though, defence coach Norman Laker wouldn't have been too happy with the display.
The Stormers slipped more tackles than they'd have liked, especially early on. Overall, they just looked flat. The fact that they didn't capatalise when the Blues were one man down after Mark Telea was yellow carded for playing Sergeal Petersen in the air.
The Blues' runners were certainly a factor, and All Black star Rieko Ioane in particular contributed to the New Zealanders' superior meters-made stats with a few big carries.
The Blues opened the scoring with a penalty by flyhalf Otere Black, and wing Joe Marchant got the first try of the match, which Black converted to take the score to 10-0.
They went 13-0 up after a scrum penalty by the Stormers just outside their 22, and the New Zealand outfit made it a commanding 20-0 points advantage when loose forward Dalton Papalii scored after a lineout on Stormers 22.
The hosts finally got some points after a scrum penalty advantage, with No 8 Juarno Augustus crashing over (7-20).
The Stormers got their second before half time when wing Sergeal Petersen ran a superb line from behind a dominant Stormers maul and went over for the try (14-20).
The Blues weren't done scoring, however, and got their third when loose forward Dalton Papalii visited the Stormers' in-goal to take the half time score to 14-27.
Black added two more penalties after the break to extend their lead and take the score to 14-33.
The Stormers have a bye this week and will face the Sharks at Kings Park in Round Seven.
Point scorers :
Stormers: Tries: Juarno Augustus, Sergeal Petersen Conversions: Damian Willemse (2)
Blues: Tries: Joe Marchant (2), Dalton Papalii Conversions: Otere Black (3) Penalties: Black (4) Yellow card: Mark Telea