The Stormers open their Super Rugby Unlocked campaign against a Lions team looking to bounce back from a narrow defeat in round one.
Stormers vs Lions: Super Rugby Unlocked
Stormers coach John Dobson has called on seven Springboks in his starting line-up for their encounter with the Lions.
There are just two changes to the starting line-up that did duty in the 34-21 victory against the Lions on Super Fan Saturday at Loftus Versfeld at the start of the month, with fit-again wing Sergeal Petersen replacing the injured Seabelo Senatla, while Bongi Mbonambi starts at hooker with Scarra Ntubeni among the replacements.
“This is our first competitive match since March, so to say that we are looking forward to it would be an understatement,” said Dobson.
Morne van den Berg has been named to replace the injured Dillon Smit at scrumhalf in the only change to the Emirates Lions starting line-up.
Van den Berg gets a deserved start following his solid performance last week as first-half replacement for Smit, who dislocated his shoulder and will most likely miss the remainder of the local season as a result of injury rehabilitation.
Stormers vs Lions: Relive the action
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Super Rugby Unlocked: Stormers 23-17 Lions
The match started with plenty of errors from both sides, and the game didn’t get going in the first ten.
Elton Jantjies put the Lions ahead from the kicking tee, but just a minute later they would concede a penalty under the shadow of their posts, and the scores were level.
The Lions looked to keep the ball in hand and run out of trouble and created the game’s first try from such play.
Jantjies took a heavy tackle before the Lions moved the ball quickly on a counter and Rabz Maxwane sprinted away to score and give the Lions the edge. Jantjies added the two from the tee.
Willemse closed the gap from a penalty close to halfway, but the Lions probably had the best of a scrappy first half.
The Stormers twice squandered opportunities from lineouts deep inside the Lions 22 with the second coming just before half-time.
The Stormers got an early penalty that allowed them to close the gap to just one as Willemse slotted a 40-metre goal.
About ten minutes later the Lions were on the charge when Rikus Pretorius popped up with an intercept and sprinted away to score a try that gave the Stormers the lead. Willemse stretched the advantage to six from the tee.
The Stormers boldly opted not to take a shot at goal on three occasions, but it ultimately paid off as Dan Du Plessis crashed over for a try that put some distance between the two sides.
The match entered the final ten minutes with the Stormers leading 23-10 but a moment of magic from Burger Odendaal brought the Lions back into the game.
Odendaal scythed through the Stormers down the blindside before setting Jantjies on for a try that along with the conversion, would bring the Lions within a converted try of the Cape side.
Willemse might have put the game beyond doubt from the tee but missed his attempt at goal setting up a nervy finish.
The Lions kept coming and even had a lineout five out, but they couldn’t find a way through, and the Stormers held on to win 23-17.
Odendaal was named man of the match
Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Michal Haznar, 23 Tim Swiel.
Lions: 15 EW Viljoen; 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Burger Odendaal, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Rabz Maxwane; 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Morné van den Berg; 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole. Replacements (from): Jan-Henning Campher, Dylan Smith, Wiehahn Herbst, Wilhelm van der Sluys, MJ Pelser, Hacjivah Dayimani, Ross Cronjé, Gianni Lombard, Wandisile Simelane, Ruan Dreyer.
Match information – Stormers v Lions
Date: Saturday 17 October
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Egon Seconds, Aimee Barrett-Theron
Television Match Official: Joey Klaaste-Salmans
TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby