Reds Come Close as Stormers Miss Bonus Point

Otto SaaymanContributor IFebruary 22, 2009

The Stormers got their first win of the season in Cape Town, but they almost let themselves down in the most horrible way.

The Reds traveled south after their loss in Pretoria. They almost swung their tour around in fine style and out-scored the Stormers in the second half.

Two quick tries by either side opened the scoring and the Stormers looked dangerous. The Reds drew first blood through Quade Cooper, who charged down a kick by Andries Bekker and scored. The Stormers replied soon after with a try by Thonderai Chavanga.

The Reds defended well for the next few minutes as wave after wave of Stormers attacks were met and snuffled. Then the Reds started some attacks of their own, also extinguished by the Stormers.

Peter Grant slotted a penalty to open the lead to 10 points to 5 for the Stormers at half time.

The Stormers started the second half with a new vigour. Andries Bekker was at the end of a number of phases put together by the Stormers. They hung on to possession, built pressure on the Reds defence and Bekker went over in the corner. Conversion by Grant.

Another Grant penalty stretched the Stormers lead to 20 points to 5.

Jean de Villiers then produced one of the best pieces of back-line play of the weekend, if not the best. He broke the defensive line of the Reds and timed his pass to perfection sending Sireli Naqelevuki over the line for a try. Grant converted and it was 27 to 5 for the Stormers.

With 23 minutes to go it looked like the Stormers were hitting their straps and were ready to run away with the game. At least scoring the bonus point try seemed a certainty.

The Reds decided not to stick to that script. Saia Faingaa crashed over the line for a try and the Reds were clawing their way back. The conversion missed and it was 27-10 to the Stormers.

They played a structured game and the pressure on the Stormers was relentless from then on. Quade Cooper burst through a gap and put Scott Higgenbotham away into the corner. Conversion was successful for once.

The play rarely moved out of the Stormers 22 in the last 5 minutes as the Reds joined the Stormers in the hunt for a bonus point try. They achieved this thanks to Van Humphries crashing over next to the posts, making the conversion easy.

27-24 was the final score and the Reds almost stole it at the death. If their conversions had been more successful they would have upset the highly-rated Cape Town team at home.

As in years past the Stormers look good on paper, but not on the Super 14 log. They will feel disappointed that they did not manage to get that fourth try.