Stormers kick off URC title defence with bonus-point win over Connacht

Stormers fullback Clayton Blommetjies is tackled by Denis Buckley of Connacht during their United Rugby Championship game at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Saturday

Stormers fullback Clayton Blommetjies is tackled by Denis Buckley of Connacht during their United Rugby Championship game at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Saturday. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 24, 2022

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Cape Town — The Stormers got their United Rugby Championship title defence off to a winning start with a bonus-point 38-15 win over Connacht in Stellenbosch on Saturday.

The Stormers had a bye in the opening round, but they didn't let that hold them back as they secured a win nonetheless in a challenging outing.

The home side got off to a storming start after the first scrum of the game as the barnstorming Evan Roos ‒ who produced a beast of a performance ‒ scored in the corner after breaking the line and making sure that the last defender in his way humbly sat down. Flyhalf Manie Libbok made it a full-point try in the fifth minute to take an early lead (7-0).

The Stormers owned the opening 10 minutes of the clash, but Connacht made their presence felt from there on, and the Stormers allowed them to get into the game.

The Irish side got their first points when flyhalf Conor Fitzgerald connected a penalty to take the score to 7-3, before the Stormers stretched their lead to double figures when Libbok hit his target off the tee after the visitors were penalised for being offside (10-3).

While Connacht took control in the second quarter as John Dobson's side did themselves no favours with their high error rate, Libbok made sure that their side of the scoreboard kept moving as he slotted a monster of a kick to go 13-3 up in the 26th minute.

The Stormers' task got a little tougher when lock Marvin Orie was yellow carded, and their lineout woes and Connacht's strong mauling saw the Irish take full advantage just before half time when hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin went over for an unconverted try (13-8).

The Stormers earned the first points after the break in the 44th minute when Libbok found the black dot again, and his second penalty conversion opened the floodgates. A red card to Connacht for making contact with Seabelo Senatla's head proved the final blow.

Stormers hooker Andre-Hugo Venter finished off a sensational piece of interplay between backs and forwards to go over the whitewash, and Hacjivah Dayimani added his name to the scoresheet after some good work by Angelo Davids.

Connacht responded in the final 10 minutes with a try, but Stormers loose forward Marcel Theunissen went over after a strong driving maul by the home side to secure the bonus-point try.

The Stormers next face Edinburgh at Cape Town Stadium next weekend.

Point-scorers

Stormers 38 – Tries: Evan Roos, Andre-Hugo Venter, Hacjivah Dayimani, Marcel Theunissen. Conversions: Manie Libbok (3). Penalties: Libbok (4)

Connacht 15 – Tries: Dylan Tierney, Jack Aungier. Conversion: Conor Fitzgerald. Penalty: Fitzgerald

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