Jarmans pick of the week
My top performance of this week has to go to an excellent display from the Stormers against the Highlanders in front of their home crowed at Newlands this past weekend. A top encounter between two under achieving sides this season.
The Highlanders would be first on the scoreboard at Newlands through a Marty Banks penalty kick after 18 minutes, 3-0 to the visitors. The Stormers took a while to warm to their task with both teams making some handling errors in the opening minutes but that penalty against the Stormers seemed to put a spark in their game and they immediately responded with a try. Seabelo Senatla got the ball from Herschel Jantjies just into Highlander territory and the former 7s flyer created a gap with some quick feet and a bit of strength to see off a would be tackler; he then drew one more defender onto him before setting Jantjies on his way to the tryline. Jantijes though still had a bit of work to do as he first stepped one defender then had the strength to get over the line while being held back by a defender, Josh Stander added the conversion which made it 7-3 to the Stormers after 20 minutes.
The Stormers piled the pressure on the visitors and chose to keep the scoreboard ticking when they were awarded a penalty in the 25th minute, Stander again making no mistake with the boot, 10-3 to the home team. They were at it again just 8 minutes later, a line out from just outside the Highlanders 22 meant a great opportunity for a Stormers set play and they did not disappoint. The ball came straight of the top to Jantjies who quickly passed it to Stander, Stander missed the dummy run of JJ Engelbrecht to find Damian De Allende who had time and space to pick a pass and boy did he! He held the ball just long enough for Siya Kolisi to find a gap and the big man was away with one man to beat the South African captain put on a bit of footwork to get onto the shoulder of the defender after that hi speed and power took him over the line a brilliant try from the Stormers. Stander added the 2 and the Stormers stretched their lead to 17-3 with the last meaningful play of the first half.
Into the second half and the Highlanders came out determined to right the wrongs of the first half and were rewarded for putting the home team under pressure resulting from a lineout drive from inside the Stormers 22. The drive put the Stormers defense at sixes and sevens and from the ensuing confusion. Patelesio Tomkins ran a great cut back line onto a pass from Aaron Smith and Tomkins smashed his way over the line for the Highlanders first try of the afternoon with Marty banks added the conversion which meant it was now a 7 point ball game at 17-10 to the Stormers after 53 minutes.
No sooner had their lead been cut then they had it back again, Dillyn Leyds looking up and seeing big forwards in front of him decided he would have a crack. Leyds took the gap between the 2 big men perfectly with a bit of pace and a great dummy pass from the winger and he was away with one man to beat before the try line. He decide to use his support runner in the form of lock forward Cobus Wiese who cantered over the line for an easy score, Stander continued his form with the boot added the 2 point conversion, the Stormers regaining a 14 point lead at 24-10.
The Stormers again looked to their flyhalf in the 62nd minute who this time was replacement Jean-luc Du Plessis when they were awarded a penalty which the replacement made no mistake with the kick to take the Stormers out to what would surely be an unassailable 17 point lead with 3 quarters of the game having been played already, 27-10 Stormers.
The Highlanders stuck back 5 minutes later in the 67th minute after some great handling by back and forwards alike saw Rob Thompson go close to scoring and from the resulting ruck Waisake Naholo picked up the ball and crashed over for the Highlanders but with Banks not able to kick the conversion it meant the Highlanders still had a mountain to climb to get back into the game with only 13 minutes to play.
That task would become an impossible one in the 69th minute when the Stormers went over for their 4th try of the afternoon. Another set play from the Stormers at a lineout and a Great line from Damian De Allende saw the center straight through a gap in the Highlanders defense, De Allende sent Sikhumbuzo Notshe on his way but great scramble defense saw the replacement forward stopped before the try line just over 5m out from the resulting ruck Jantjies found his new flyhalf Jean-luc Du Plessis who had an easy run in for a try, the same Du Plessis converted his own try to make it 34-15 with ten minutes to play.
The Highlanders facing an impossible task did manage a late consolation try from Dan Hollinshead who crashed over from close range; Siate Tokolahi converted the late score to make the scoreboard look respectable at 34-22 but a dominant display from the Stormers nevertheless. A great team performance from a team probably out of the running for play off positions but players putting up their hand for possible world cup selection.
Brumbies vs Bulls
The Bulls traveled to the Brumbies looking to build on a victory over the Rebels the week before. Immediately the Bulls were under pressure and conceded an early try after they had a penalty converted by Manie Libbok, Tevita Kuridrani going over for the hosts, 5-0 Brumbies after just 4 minutes.
The two teams would share a try a piece in the rest of the half, Handro Liebenberg going in for the Bulls and Kuridrani grabbing his brace. Both tries being converted meant the Brumbies had a 2 point lead after the first half at 12-10.
The Bulls still in the game at half time would have wanted to have a better showing in the second half but it wasn’t to be as the Brumbies ran in 2 unanswered tries, Irae Simone getting the first and Kuridrani managing to get his hat-trick. The Bulls with a very disappointing 2nd half showing not managing a single point meant the Brumbies ran out 22-10 victors on the day.
Sharks VS Lions
The Lions traveled to Durban to take on a confident Sharks outfit whose form recently was good despite a loss to the Chiefs the week before. The Lions were looking for momentum after a 1 point win over the Waratahs the previous week. The Lions started on the front foot but an intercept try from Curwin Bosch put the Sharks in the ascendency as early as the 16th minute. The Sharks doubled their lead in the 23rd minute through Dan Du Plessis and a conversion from Bosch meant after 25 minutes the Sharks had a 14 point lead.
The Lions hit back with a try of their own in the 31st minute after great work from Elton Jantjies taking the ball to the line then offloading in contact to setup Lionel Mapoe, 14-7 to the Sharks at half time.
The Lions leveled the scores in the 49th minute after great work from Aphiwe Dyantyi down the left flank showing great pace to get away from his opposite winger Sibu Nkosi and then having presence of mind to find Courtnal Skosan on his inside. From the resulting ruck Mapoe picked the ball up and went close to the line. From there it was simple hands to Cyle Brink who went in virtually under the posts 14-14 and this game was heating up.
The Sharks took the lead again in the 54th minute when they were awarded a penalty which Bosch duly slotted home to make it 17-14 to the Sharks. The Sharks stuck a hammer blow to the Lions just 4 minutes later as Makazola Mapimpi intercepted another errant pass from Elton Jantjies and ran the ball home from nearly on his own 5 meter line, 24-14 to the Sharks with 20 minutes to play. The two sides would trade penalties in the last 20 minutes and in the end the Sharks ran out winners in this one 27-17. The Lions architects of their own downfall with the 2 intercept tries.