CAPE TOWN – It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon for running rugby, but the dross dished up by the Stormers saw them lose their unbeaten record at Newlands as they succumbed 15-9 to the Chiefs.
Despite still claiming a losing bonus point, the Stormers are all but out of the running for the playoffs as they are currently in ninth on the overall standings, and still have a tough league programme to go against the Sunwolves (Hong Kong), Lions (Newlands), Jaguares (Buenos Aires) and Sharks (Newlands).
Try as they might, the Cape side never got going against the disciplined Chiefs, who shut out their opponents with a combination of rush defence and a swarming blanket that snuffed out any chance of a breakthrough for the home team.
The Stormers had more than enough possession to put the visitors away, but at times looked they didn’t know what to do with it as they ran out of ideas.
Coach Robbie Fleck would probably be disappointed by the effort of the forwards, who were unable to get the upper hand upfront and conceded a number of scrum penalties.
Early in the affair, hooker Ramone Samuels also overthrew an attacking lineout inside the Chiefs 22.
While the Cape side had the better of the initial exchanges, they only had a Damian Willemse penalty to show for it, which meant that the Chiefs could take the lead in the 22nd minute when centre Anton Lienert-Brown dotted down.
The hard-running No 13 took full advantage of a mix-up between SP Marais and Dillyn Leyds in trying to deal with a cross-kick as the ball bounced up perfectly.
Damian McKenzie continuously threatened the Stormers defence with his blinding pace, but while he ultimately didn’t score a try, he stretched the Capetonians almost at will.
McKenzie missed a shot at goal before the break, and a Willemse three-pointer after halftime put the Stormers 6-5 ahead.
But as the second half wore on, the wily Chiefs forwards gained dominance at scrum-time – with All Black star lock Brodie Retallick leading the way in general – although some of New Zealand referee Mike Fraser’s decisions were questionable, while he also failed to police the offside line properly.
Nevertheless, Fraser awarded a penalty try to the Kiwis with 15 minutes to go as the Stormers were shoved backwards.
#SuperRugby - RESULT:
Stormers 9-15 Chiefs
The Chiefs come away with a 6-point win after a tight game in Cape Town to give the Stormers their first home defeat of the season.#SSRugby pic.twitter.com/jxyN6fZVTe
Despite a late rally from the home team, with Marais kicking another penalty, it was too little too late as the Chiefs ran out deserved winners.
Stormers 9 – Penalties: Damian Willemse (2), SP Marais (1).
Chiefs 15 – Tries: Anton Lienert-Brown, Penalty Try. Penalty: Damian McKenzie (1).