CAPE TOWN – The Stormers produced their best performance of their three-match tour to Australasia against the Highlanders in Dunedin, but ran out of gas in the second half and suffered their 10th straight defeat in New Zealand on Friday.
The Highlanders scored five tries to two in their 33-15 victory – a result which will see the Stormers return home without a single win on tour – after going down to the Waratahs and the Crusaders in the first two games.
The hosts opened the scoring early on when they secured their lineout and Liam Squire exploited some poor defence as he broke through tackles to go over for the first five-pointer. Flyhalf Lima Sopoaga missed the conversion.
The Stormers responded with a try through lock Chris van Zyl a couple of minutes later, but fullback SP Marais also missed his opportunity to add the extras.
Flyhalf Damian Willemse put the Stormers in the lead when he pounced on a botched pass and sprinted from his own 22 to score a brilliant try. Marais extended the lead to 12-5 with the conversion.
The Highlanders didn’t take too long to hit back in the form of an Aaron Smith try, after Waisake Naholo beat three defenders out wide before passing to Smith to finish.
Sopoaga added the conversion to level the scores draw level at 12-12 at the end of the first quarter.
At the 30-minute mark, Marais added three points to take a 12-15 lead, but shortly afterwards Naholo capitalised on a Stormers error and slipped into space to run in another try (19-15 at halftime).
The Highlanders scored two more tries through Luke Whitelock and Smith, while the Stormers contributed nothing to the score-sheet in the second 40.
Highlanders 33 – Tries: Liam Squire, Aaron Smith (2), Waisake Naholo, Luke Whitelock. Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (4).
Stormers 15 – Tries: Chris van Zyl, Damian Willemse. Conversion: SP Marais (1). Penalty: Marais (1).