Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Following a bit of a trend this past weekend in world rugby, the Stormers traveled to Auckland and pulled off a last ditch 28-26 win against the Blues, in yet another game of two halves.
It was a classic match-up as the men from Cape Town were determined to avoid a three game losing streak, but had to fight for it after being down 19-3 at halftime, and playing with fourteen men after Francois Louw was yellow carded.
The Stormers came out pumped up in the second half though, and thanks to some great play by new center pairing Juan De Jongh and Johann Sadie, got within touching distance of a famous win. A controversial late try from Schalk Burger got them equal, then an ice-cool conversion from replacement scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage gave them the win.
Errors and missed tackles were the downfall of the home side, although the stats actually show that the Stormers missed eight more than the Auckland region. Perhaps a telling stat is the linebreaks, with the Stormers making 13 to the 7 of the Blues.
Coach Pat Lam seemed to direct his attention towards the officials though, claiming that the Burger try shouldn't have been given. "Some calls out there made it very tough for us," he said.
"When the touch judge says it's short, and Alby (Mathewson) says it's short, but Keith Brown (referee) believes he saw it over the line. We're very frustrated."
On the plus side, Luke McAlister became the first New Zealand player to break the 100 point mark this season, taking his season tally to 109 points, something that All Black coach Graham Henry will surely take note of.
For the Stormers, the successful center pairing of De Jongh and Sadie are likely to be relegated to the bench for their next game against the Brumbies. If Jaque Fourie and Jean De Villiers are fit, they will be automatic selections, said forwards coach Matt Proudfoot from Sydney.