WELLINGTON – If the Stormers can add some of the heat they showed in an 87-5 dismantling of Boland on Friday against the Bulls at Loftus next week, there’s no way they can get off to too bad a start.
The Stormers scored 13 tries in sweltering conditions in Wellington on Friday, while Boland managed only one try-line visit in the one-sided encounter.
The comprehensive win was the Stormers’ third pre-season win after victories over False Bay RFC and a Combined Club XV two weeks ago, before they outsmarted the Bulls 33-28 in their Marvel-themed friendly at Cape Town Stadium last Sunday.
And although it was just a friendly, it still produced some positive take-aways for the Stormers.
While calling the conditions the teams had to play in at Boland Stadium hot is probably an understatement, it’s a fitting way to describe the Stormers’ opening try, and overall performance as well.
SA Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit took the gap after some good pressure by his teammates following an attacking lineout, before offloading to JD Schickerling to get them on the scoreboard.
The visitors added two more tries in the opening quarter through No 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe and SP Marais to go 21-0 up, and eight minutes later, Marais added another seven-pointer to take the score to 28-0.
And it’s the way in which he did it that was even more impressive than the visitors’ hunger for the tryline.
A beautiful counter-attack was started with a superb chip-kick – which Marais collected on the 22 – before stepping past two defenders to dot down and take their tally to 28 in as many minute.
Three tries (Schickerling, Notshe, Marais) and three conversions from this man @SPMarais in the first 20 mins gives DHL Stormers a 21-0 lead against Boland in Wellington. #iamastormer 📸: @callsignvector pic.twitter.com/Zc79UMDd7f
— DHL STORMERS (@THESTORMERS) February 8, 2019
Robbie Fleck’s men added three more tries before the break to take the halftime score to 49-0.
They added six more tries in the second stanza, while Boland got their only try when Gavern Skippers went over for a breakaway score.
While Boland had no fewer than eight debutants in their starting line-up alone, some of the Stormers players’ productions were seriously impressive nonetheless.
The majority of the Springboks looked solid (especially seeing as they focused more on conditioning and didn’t really feature in the warm-ups) and were just as comfortable in the running game as they were in the tighter areas.
On the individual front, Nico Leonard, Juarno Augustus and Dan du Plessis are three guys who can feel confident about their performances, especially the latter’s devastating running lines that caused the opposition their fair share of problems.
The Stormers will take on the Bulls in their Super Rugby opener at Loftus next Saturday, February 16.
Stormers 87 – Tries: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, SP Marais (2), Neethling Fouché, Ruhan Nel, Siya Kolisi, Nico Leonard (2), JD Schickerling (2), Juarno Augustus, Jaco Coetzee (2). Conversions: Marais (4), Damian Willemse (3), Jean-Luc du Plessis (4).
Boland 5 – Try: Gavern Skippers.