If you went to Newlands expecting a brimming pot of thrill or excitement, you most likely left badly disappointed.
The Stormers’ 9-15 loss to the Chiefs wasn’t anything pretty.
Throw in some error-ridden spells along with some questionable (to say the least) calls by Mike Fraser that favoured the New Zealanders, and you have the perfect recipe to cook up a frustrating Saturday afternoon for any Stormers supporter.
Yeah, there were some things that could have caught your eye in the encounter.
You would have noticed that the match was nothing like the Stormers’ stunning 34-26 win over the Chiefs at Newlands early last year.
The moments that had you on the edge of your seat (for the right reasons) weren’t as abundant.
This game was a bit more like the Stormers’ 2017 quarter-final tussle with the Chiefs that ended 17-11. It was as tight as that game, but not as good.
You would have noticed that inconsistent performances remain a problem for the Stormers this season, and you also would have noticed that a new Super Rugby mascot in the form of a ref with glasses in addition to a whistle wouldn’t be too bad an idea.
Individually, there were some good moments, though.
Chiefs pivot Damian McKenzie was very involved and added a couple of good touches, while All Black lock Brodie Retallick lived up to the hype surrounding him in the build-up to the match and earned the Man of the Match award.
For the Stormers, Bok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit continued his hard-working ways.
The Stormers’ latest disappointment certainly puts them under a bit more pressure in terms of making into the top eight spots, but they still have a chance to rack up some points against the Sunwolves in Hong Kong and the Lions at Newlands before the Test break.
The Stormers got the first points on the board through flyhalf Damian Willemse in the first quarter, and their defence was strong enough to keep a determined Chiefs side out in the early stages of the game.
McKenzie showed top awareness when he sent a cross-kick into open space behind the Stormers after that, and left wing Solomon Alaimalo did well to scoop it up and put in a brilliant offload to outside centre Anton Lienert-Brown, who then ran at an angle to get the first try of the game (3-5).
The hosts were extremely lucky not to have seen what could easily have been a very ugly consequence of their regular box kicks when the Chiefs came close to capitalising on the pounced ball shortly afterwards, and as half time came, the scores were set at 3-5.
In the 50th minute McKenzie had a chance to give his side a one-point lead, but he missed his second kick of the day and the narrow lead remained with the Stormers.
With 15 minutes to go, the Chiefs were awarded a penalty try, and with a little over four minutes left on the clock, McKenzie made no mistake with his shot at goal to stretch their lead to 6-15.
The Stormers will have to perform better away from home next Saturday when they face the resurgent Sunwolves in Hong Kong (7.15am SA time kickoff).
After that, they’ll meet the Lions the following week at Newlands before the Test break.