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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Absolute carnage as Stormers blow Scarlets away in URC clash in Stellenbosch

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The Stormers are two from two in the United Rugby Championship (URC) after bulldozing the Scarlets in the Danie Craven stadium in Stellenbosch on Saturday afternoon.

It was an entertaining display, in true Stormers fashion, as they ran in eight tries to win 52-7 to go on their European tour bolstered by some clinical play by their front rankers and some silky skills shown by the backs when they had the ball in hand.

Utility back Sacha Feinberg-Mongomezulu took centre stage again in the 12-jersey and he delivered a second inspiring performance in as many weeks, showing that the Stormers shouldn’t worry about their depth at inside centre in the absence of Dan du Plessis and Springbok Damian Willemse.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu and fullback Warrick Gelant conjured up some running magic in the backline, and time and again when they touched the ball, the visitors had to scramble to defend.

The 21-year-old prodigy, named Player of the Match for the second game in a row, played more direct this time around and took the ball up getting over the gainline with ease while also putting his outside backs away as he broke through tackles almost at will.

Gelant also had a couple of flicks and kicks that had the Scarlets’ defence in a spin, trying to figure out what he would be doing next. And then flyhalf Clayton Blommetjies also deserves some of the props.

He kicked brilliantly out of hand, dove-tailed on the attack with Gelant and Feinberg-Mngomezulu, and made sure his wingers received plenty of running space when they got the ball.

The domination started up front, though, with the first scrum and rolling maul of the game setting the tone for the home team.

Stormers coach John Dobson and his assistants, especially forwards mentor Rito Hlungwani will be happy with the display of the pack. They dominated tight exchanges, and the Scarlets were no match for them when it came to the scrums and lineouts.

The front row, both the starters and the bench, comfortably had the best of the Welsch club’s front rankers, while the locks had no trouble winning their lineouts and supporting their props at the scrum.

The powerful and flight-footed loose trio of the former URC champions absolutely wreaked havoc thanks to their physicality.

Busy six-flank Marcel Theunissen scored an early brace thanks to some quick-thinking by himself off a quick-tap penalty. His second came from a powerful rolling maul.

Scrumhalf Paul de Wet was also outstanding, scoring a brace of tries coming within inches of completing a hattrick.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu, on one of his powerful breaks, burst through a couple of Scarlets defenders and fed the ball to winger Ben Loader who scored his first Stormers try as outside centre after he had to slot into the position when Ruhan Nel was knocked out cold in a tackle.

Loader, shortly before the end of the game, ran a good line off a Gelant pass and put debutant winger Courtnall Skosan in for his first Stormers try.

There were still some gremlins that broke their momentum on the attack and defence, but it’s the second match of the new season and they have plenty of time to fix that.

Nel also looked in fine nick next to the field after undergoing a concussion test and should he pass his second test, he will be available to tour. But the Stormers will give him a week’s rest before deciding if he will link up with the squad in Europe.

Dobson will be relieved about that, and happy with the 10 points and his side’s start in South Africa. They set a certain standard and will want to maintain it in their four games on the road.

Point-scorers

Stormers 52 — Tries: Marcel Theunissen (2), Paul de Wet (2), Clayton Blommetjies, Ben Loader, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Courtnall Skosan. Conversions: Blommetjies (2), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (4).

Scarlets 7 — Try: Kieran Hardy. Conversion: Ioan Lloyd.

IOL Sport

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