Leaders Stormers laud Leyds

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The back-row combination of captain Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger and Siya Kolisi played a leading role as the Stormers flexed their muscles on defence, while Steven Kitshoff, Scarra Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe and locks Eben Etzebeth and Manuel Carizza powered a potent scrum.

Dominance in both these facets sparked a performance that produced the Stormers’ biggest haul of tries in five matches.

Damian de Allende and Leyds combined for the hosts’ three tries, while flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis added an extra 16 points with four penalties and two conversions.

The Rebels replied with tries from centre Dom Shipperley and winger Tom English, one converted by fullback Mike Harris, while flyhalf Jack Debreczeni kicked a penalty. But the Melbournians were forced to play catch-up from the fifth minute and never looked capable of taking control.

Vermeulen flattened Rebels runners with positive hits, Kolisi obliterated all comers at the tackle point, and Burger got his paws on the pill for a few vital steals.

Multiple penalties against the Australians, who repeatedly back-tracked at the scrum, kept Catrakilis close enough to the sticks to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Though the Stormers will cherish their biggest win since scalping the Waratahs in Sydney last month, they may also come to rue their inability to secure the bonus point after failing to add a fourth try in the final 34 minutes of play.

A powerful shove at the first scrum gave Catrakilis his first crack at goal when the Rebels were blown up for wheeling and the Stormers flyhalf converted.

The Stormers scrum came through again for the hosts at the end of the first quarter. The Rebels capitalised on an error to course into enemy territory when fullback Cheslin Kolbe slipped while tracking across in kick coverage and winger Seabelo Senatla was forced to hack the ball into touch in-goal.

Tighthead prop Frans Malherbe spearheaded a counter-shove as the Stormers won a heel against the head at the ensuing five-metre scrum and the visitors were denied.

The Rebels have proven they’re a persistent bunch this season and they rallied to return to the red zone, with captain Scott Higginbotham and lock Lopeti Timani making powerful runs.

However, the Stormers matched their opponents’ determination with the unrelenting defence that has become a staple of the Cape side in recent years. A string of offensive tackles preceded a Burger turnover, and the Stormers immediately transitioned from defence into attack.

The Rebels recovered, but Debrezceni handed the ball back to the hosts when his next action was to pass to Louis Schreuder. The Stormers halfback fed his support players before De Allende looked up to see he was being marked by Cruze Ah-Nau, and the Stormers thumper rounded the Rebels loosehead prop to score. Catrakilis nailed the touchline conversion (10-0).

The Rebels scored their opening try from a simple first-phase strike move on the half-hour mark. Clever running lines flat-footed Juan de Jongh and the Stormers outside centre recovered too late to stop Mike Harris’ off-load for Shipperley’s try.

With seven minutes remaining in the first half, Catrakilis kicked his second penalty.

Schreuder and Rebels No 9 Nic Strizaker traded box kicks to keep the contest near halfway until Catrakilis hit grass with a precision volley that beat Harris and rolled into touch near the corner post.

Stirzaker followed up a ruck in front of the uprights before coming back to his hooker on the blind. Leyds read the play like an Archie comic, jumping Leafa’s pass to jog over the line for a try that had the Newlands faithful in stitches.

Debreczeni and Catrakilis traded penalties shortly after the restart before the Stormers pack juggernaut sent Leyds over for his second try.

The Rebels scrum was spinning its wheels in vain as Malherbe and the Stormers heavies engaged low gear to march them back 10 metres from a scrum near halfway.

Vermeulen eventually picked up, the ball went to Leyds, via Schreuder, and the Stormers winger jinked inside, racing through a void left by an absent catch-up defender to score (28-10).

Yet another scrum penalty teed Catrakilis up to convert his fourth penalty in the 65th minute, the final score of the match.

Original source: Leaders Stormers laud Leyds

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