NEWS ARTICLES
Chiefs on top at Newlands
May 12, 2018

The Chiefs ended the Stormers’ unbeaten record at home as well set back their title quest with a hard fought yet deserved 15-9 Vodacom Super Rugby win at Newlands on Saturday.

It has been said often this season that the Stormers are a different animal at home and perhaps the most apt thing to say after this close, error-ridden game that was reminiscent in many ways of the quarterfinal played here last year was that they didn’t bring enough of their animal.

What the Stormers desperately needed if they were going to beat the Chiefs was a repeat of the intensity and physicality that carried them to an early lead against the Bulls last week.

That wasn’t forthcoming and with the Chiefs clearly up for this game and adopting what could best be described as a refusal to lose mentality, the Stormers ended up being fronted in precisely the areas where they needed to be ascendant.

For that read first phase, and with both defensive systems imposing themselves in an even first half and neither side really getting the better of the collisions, it was the Chiefs who grew stronger in the final quarter. It was then that they won the match.

Perhaps the first indication that this wouldn’t be he Stormers’ day came in the first scrum of the match, which was set in the 13th minute.

So much of what went right for the Stormers last week, and generally in their home matches up to now, was built around the confidence that was spread across all aspects of their game from a solid scrumming effort.

Whereas they destroyed the Bulls in the first scrum seven days ago, this time the Chiefs were strong on their put-in at a scrum that set under their posts, held it steady, and then with a second shove won themselves a penalty.

Later in the game, during a long period of Stormers resistance as the Chiefs camped on their line, the Newlands faithful were confronted with what for them would have been the unedifying sight of the Stormers scrum buckling and conceding several penalties.

Almost inevitably considering the pressure the hosts were under, the end result was a penalty try as once again the Stormers pack resorted to illegal tactics, in the eyes of referee Mike Fraser anyway, to prevent what looked an inexorable Chiefs march toward their tryline.

That score cancelled out a 6-5 Stormers lead after Damian Willemse had kicked a 53rd-minute penalty that regained the Stormers a lead they had last enjoyed in the 22nd minute.

That was the point where, with the Stormers leading 3-0 from a Willemse penalty, a well directed hoist kick from the Chiefs bounced kindly for the visitors and against Stormers fullback SP Marais, who could only dejectedly watch as Chiefs centre Anton Lienert-Brown powered in for the try.

INDECIPHERABLE DECISIONS

If that was an unlucky bounce for the Stormers on a day when the Newlands turf did provide some strange bounce, they were lucky a few minutes later when in another similar situation the Chiefs set up what look likely to be a second try only for the ball to spew away off its course and into the corner flag.

The field kicking was one of the differences between the teams. Damian McKenzie, although struggling with his few kicks at goal, was generally on the tickey with his tactical kicking.

The Stormers by contrast struggled with scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage in particular not enjoying a good day with his boot.

The Chiefs announced their intentions early by spending the first five minutes on the attack, winning three penalties in the process.

Chris van Zyl won a lineout against the throw in a deep defensive position, but the Stormers messed up in the formation later on when, with one of their rare first phase set-ups in the attack zone, there was an overthrow.

Like their countrymen from Johannesburg earlier in the day in Dunedin, there was a sense that the Stormers conspired against themselves in terms of the many errors they made.

One of their best chances of the first half was when Damian de Allende broke a few tackles on the Chiefs line and looked set to go over only for the ball to be dislodged.

In truth though there weren’t many Stormers opportunities on the day, and the longer the game wore on the more apparent it became that they were just shut out by a Chiefs team that had their measure defensively.

The Stormers weren’t helped by the refereeing of Fraser, who came up with some indecipherable decisions and also missed an awful lot.

But his shoddy officiating didn’t favour either of the two teams and the Chiefs were deserved winners on a day when fans who were here last week for the much higher quality derby match would have left Newlands feeling frustrated for more reasons than just that the home team lost.

It was more like they failed to launch, with their bonus point, clinched towards the end with an SP Marais penalty, being the only positive for them.

Their Newlands Mojo is no more.

SCORES

Chiefs 15 – Try: Anton Lienert-Brown; Penalty try; Penalty: Damian McKenzie.

DHL Stormers 9 – Penalties: Damian Willemse 2 and SP Marais.

MATCH CENTRE
FIXTURES
     
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