CAPE TOWN – The Stormers really are their own worst enemies.
At least in New Zealand they were competitive before ultimately being beaten by the better team. At Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane this morning, they simply gifted away a desperately-needed away win to the Reds through a litany of errors.
After a penalty-laced 0-0 first half – the first time since 2013 that both teams have failed to register a point in the first 40 minutes of a Super Rugby match – the home team ran in three tries to the Stormers’ two to close out a 24-12 win.
Admittedly the Stormers were lacking some senior players upfront with Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and JD Schickerling all back in South Africa already, but the high error-rate was simply inexcusable.
The handling mistakes, particularly from the new front row, stalled momentum while the missed tackles – 30 overall – really hurt the Stormers.
Red centre Sefanaia Naivalu certainly prospered from the feeble defence to bust straight through the line that allowed his skipper Samu Kerevi to make further metres before breaking open the deadlock shortly after the halftime interval.
This was a profitable period for the Reds, who took full advantage of Stormers captain Siya Kolisi being sent to the sin-bin on the stroke of halftime, with Brandon Paenga-Amosa adding a further five-pointer while the visitors were reduced to 14-men.
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck made a string a changes at that juncture with prop Steven Kitshoff and hooker Bongi Mbonambi thrown into the fray. With Kolisi also back on the field, it had immediate impact when flank Kobus van Dyk crashed over to reduce the deficit.
The Reds, though, stretched the lead further a few moments later when impressive scrumhalf Tate McDermott caught the Stormers napping close to their tryline with a quick tap before diving over.
Full-time in Brisbane, where the DHL Stormers have gone down 24-12 against the Reds. They finish their Australasian tour in Melbourne against the Rebels next week. #REDvSTO— DHL STORMERS (@THESTORMERS) April 5, 2019
Although Damian de Allende reduced the deficit with a second Stormers try to set up a tense finale, it was ultimate a consolation effort as Robbie Fleck’s team slumped to their third consecutive loss on tour.
The Stormers will look back at a couple of close moments in the first half then they missed out on two tries only due to the breadth of the white chalk, but ultimately it was once again their lack of composure and execution when the opportunities arose that cost them dearly.
Scorers on Friday
Tries: S. Kerevi, B. Paenga-Amosa, T. McDermott, Conversions: B. Hegarty (x3), Penalty: B. Hegarty
Tries: K. Van Dyk, D. de Allende
Conversions: JL du Plessis@ZaahierAdams