CAPE TOWN – The Stormers were generally unimpressive in beating a spirited Sunwolves side at Newlands in their Super Rugby encounter on Saturday, despite a scoreline of 52-15 suggesting otherwise.
Coach Robbie Fleck would have wanted a team performance that would generate momentum at the business end of the competition, but he did not get it against a side that lost 94-7 to the Lions last week.
He would have been thrilled, though, by the brilliant finishing of Cheslin Kolbe and Dillyn Leyds.
The game could hardly have started in worse fashion for the visitors when centre Derek Carpenter was binned for a high tackle on Seabelo Senatla for a high tackle just after kickoff.
And it was only a matter of time before the Stormers opened their account, the first try going to Kolbe in the seventh minute after his forwards won a counter-ruck to give him a free run down the touchline.
The Japanese pulled back three points when Yu Tamura kicked a penalty, but this was soon undone when centre EW Viljoen found a gap near the line following a series of surges at the Sunwolves line.
The gritty Japanese refused to drop their heads and on 20 minutes they scored a superb team try, with wing Teruya Goto going over in the corner after a long period of efficient phase play, and the conversion by Tamura made it 14-10.
The flyhalf should have made it 14-13 when he missed a regulation kick at goal after half an hour.
The Sunwolves then came within inches of scoring their second try as the relatively large Newlands crowd would have been bemused that this was the same team that got such a hiding the week before.
The Sunwolves could have led at halftime had they taken their chances, and they had a handful of them thanks to 60 percent of possession.
Instead, just before the interval, Leyds suddenly came to light and nudged a kick over the defence to create a try out of nothing for Senatla, who gathered and scored.
The Stormers no doubt had a roasting at halftime and five minutes into the half, controlled build-up saw flyhalf Damian Willemse explode through a hole in the defence for a 40m dash to the line.
But the visitors were in no mood to capitulate, as they had against the Lions, and they quickly replied through hooker Takeshi Hino after a siege on the Stormers’ line.
The missed conversion left the score at a respectable 26-15 as the game approached the three-quarter mark.
Again Leyds provided the magic for the home team when he scored a fine solo try, and he backed it up with another 10 minutes from time to cap an excellent individual performance.
Kolbe nailed his second when he stabbed a kick down the touchline and outsprinted the defence to gather and score, and it was perhaps fitting that he clinched his hat-trick on the stroke of fulltime.
Stormers 52 – Tries: Cheslin Kolbe (3), EW Viljoen, Seabelo Senatla, Damian Willemse, Dillyn Leyds (2). Conversions: Willemse (4), Kolbe (2).
Sunwolves 15 – Tries: Teruya Goto, Takeshi Hino. Conversion: Yu Tamura (1). Penalty: Yu Tamura (1).
African News Agency (ANA)