The win was in order especially on a day when Stormers coach Allister Coetzee was celebrating his 52nd birthday. The 31-15 victory would have topped Coetzee’s birthday celebrations as his team returned to the summit of the South African Conference.
The mood was not the same in the Rebels camp afterwards as they were left to rue mistakes which were severely punished by the Stormers, whose flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis scored more points with the boot, 16 via four penalties and two conversions, than the visiting Aussie team (15) on the night.
The Aussies were hurt the most by an intercept try by Stormers wing Dillon Leyds, who ran in unopposed from seven metres out, moments after the halftime hooter sounded.
Earlier in the half, the Rebels looked like they had overcome an earlier first-half setback due to sloppy defence when they allowed the Stormers to break out with a counter-attack that led to a Damian de Allende try and they responded four minutes later with Dominic Shipperley try.
Those two ‘soft tries’ effectively sounded the death knell for the visitors, and their head coach Tony McGahan said afterwards his charges had given the Stormers “some easy points” on the night.
“We take a lot of positives out of that performance despite the result, however, a lack of composure at our end provided them with some easy points,” said McGahan.
“You can’t control that (play that led to the intercept try). It was unfortunate, and we just lacked some composure there. We just needed to be a bit more clinical there. Get the ball down, maul it, kick it out and we go in at 13-7 and we’re probably not in a bad position.”
Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham also pointed to his side’s high error count afterwards and said he was not looking forward to reviewing the match.
“It’s going to be a tough one to review because our errors would have been through the roof and that’s disappointing,” said Higginbotham.
Coetzee said afterwards though the Stormers did not manage a bonus point but victory was of primary importance.
“Obviously we did try and get the bonus point that’s been eluding us but it is mission accomplished,” said Coetzee.
“I think in this competition we need to win.
“We need to win next week and we need to win the following week after that, and that’s how we’ve planned it.
“I’m very happy with the birthday present. The four points in the pocket, on course and on track,” said Coetzee.
The Stormers return to Newlands next Saturday when they host the Cheetahs, who will be playing their final match under coach Naka Drotske.
The Rebels, meanwhile, will be rounding off their two-match South African tour with a fixture against the resurgent Sharks in the ‘Shark Tank’ in Durban. – ANA
Original source: Stormers punished sloppy Rebels