Joe Allison /

How much can the Stormers really be praised for conceding seven tries and scoring only one in their 41-22 defeat to the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday?

Certainly more than what they were in the last two games against the Crusaders and the Highlanders.

It was an improved effort by the Stormers in the Cake Tin and at halftime, it was still anyone’s game at 22-16.

Early in the second half, the Hurricanes just couldn’t string their phases together as the Stormers’ defensive line smothered them, while that pressure could also be seen in a number of the Hurricanes’ passes going astray.

Overall, they just didn’t look as crisp as they did in the first half, and the Stormers can praise their defensive pressure for that (it was way better than in the first half).

The Stormers were also competitive with their driving maul, but they were overpowered at the scrums at times, especially in the second half.

And they are going to have to seriously assess their lineout work, as a few of hooker Bongi Mbonambi’s throw-ins put them under unnecessary pressure.

The hosts showed great composure to close out the game in the last 20 minutes after losing their grip on proceedings at times before that.

They also punished the Stormers for losing possession inches from the tryline when they produced a length-of-the-field touchdown to take the score to 34-22 and run away with the win.

The Beauden Barrett show was a masterclass yet again as the flyhalf set up four of the Hurricanes’ seven tries with his characteristic cross-kicks, and he also visited the in-goal area himself.

The Hurricanes got the first points that matter after charging down a kick by Stormers wing Dillyn Leyds.

After the charge-down, Beauden Barrett put in a cross-kick into the Stormers 22, which was perfectly gathered by scrumhalf TJ Prerenara to score the opening try. Fullback Jordie Barrett converted to take the score to 7-3.

They got the second one when Perenara delivered a grubber that was chased down by Stormers No 8 Nizaam Carr, who got hold of the ball in the in-goal area but failed to ground the it.

Fullback Jordie Barrett snatched the ball from Carr’s grip and dotted down millimetres from the dead-ball line to make it 12-3.

The Hurricanes scored a fantastic try when Beauden Barrett sent another cross-kick to Julian Savea next to touch.

The wing got the ball away to Jordie Barrett as he came up in support, and the latter then sent a beautiful offload to put Savea, who cut back on his inside, away for the try to increase the lead to 17-3.

The Stormers got on the try-scoring sheet when replacement hooker Ramone Samuels – who came on at the expense of No 6 Kobus van Dyk when starting hooker Bongi Mbonambi was yellow carded for collapsing the maul – peeled from a powerful driving maul by the visitors after securing possession at an attacking lineout inside the 22.

Flyhalf Robert du Preez added the extras to bring the Stormers into the game at 17-10.

Things took an ugly turn for Robbie Fleck’s team after the 30th minute, as they lost Du Preez to what looked like a shoulder injury, while Mbonambi’s off-target lineout throws not only put them under pressure for the second time in the match, but also led to a try by the Canes.

Perenara pounced on a loose ball that Mbonambi sent right over the set-piece, and after losing possession for a brief moment, the Kiwis turned it over again before Beauden Barrett put the ball on the boot to send younger brother Jordie over for his second try.

Stormers fullback SP Marais slotted his second penalty to tighten the game up at 22-16 just before halftime.

In the third quarter, the Stormers piled the pressure on the Hurricanes, and Marais kicked the penalty that levelled the score at 22-22 after the hosts conceded a string of penalties.

The Canes got their fifth try in the second half when inside centre Ngani Laumape scored after a powerful scrum by the hosts, and he got his second that started from their own goal-line after Barrett put in another cross-kick to Savea, who offloaded to Laumape to take the score to 34-22.

Beauden Barrett got his own, much-deserved, try just before the siren went to end the game.


Hurricanes 41 – Tries: Cory Jane, Jordie Barrett (2), Julian Savea, Ngani Laumape (2), Beauden Barrett. Conversions: Jordie Barrett (2), Beauden Barrett (1).

Stormers 22 – Try: Ramone Samuels. Conversion: Robert du Preez (1). Penalties: Du Preez (1), SP Marais (4).

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