The Chiefs secured a vital bonus point and went second on the standings, following their 28-14 win over a pitiful and sorry-looking Stormers team at Newlands on Saturday.
The Chiefs will have plenty to celebrate – a well-deserved win and vital bonus point that saw them move into second place on the standings, displacing the Bulls, as they return home on Sunday.
However, more questions will be raised about the poor quality of some of the Stormers players.
Rugby 365 reports that while injury setbacks have ravaged the team, it is also a sad sight when players show a lack of intent and amble along for 80 minutes – when some of their teammates put their bodies on the line.
There were moments of Stormers brilliance but there was not much Stormer finish, lots of huff and puff but little to show for it. The Chiefs on the other hand were like cobras. They were poised, controlled and then suddenly they struck. And the King Cobra was Richard Kahui. When he struck it really counted, seven points at a time.
The Stormers have had a bad run of injuries and they got worse in this match. First Conrad Jantjes in a moment of brilliance that turned to horror broke his right leg, a clean break. Then tackler-in-chief Schalk Burger limped off. Their replacements were young men who may one say be good – new man Tiger Bax and Pieter Louw.
The Chiefs gave the impression of playing well within themselves in fact Sione Lauaki was so laid back he only just avoided being inert as he padded about, the condescending King of the Kids. But their skills were outstanding – on attack and defence. much of their ability is in their alignment. They get into the right positions on attack and defence. They are a class side.
The Chiefs started with many phases as the Stormers battled to try to get the ball. And then Luke Watson managed a strange turnover and little Dewaldt Duvenhage – such a promising scrumhalf – went haring off for the corner where Stephen Donald tackled him high. Donald was penalised but Willem de Waal missed the kick at goal.
Not long after this Donald kicked a lobbing diagonal to his left. Jantjes’s anticipation was first class as he came racing in and soccer style – he was a boy star – he kicked the ball forward on the volley and raced after it. He and Liam Messam went to ground and suddenly Jantjes was on his back, signalling his distress. The referee stopped the play and had the medics on. Eventually the motorised stretcher came and carefully, his right leg splinted, Jantjes was removed from the field. It was a sad delay of eight minutes. The incumbent Springbok fullback was only just back from injury.
The Stormers regrouped and from a scrum Luke Watson broke and raced away down the middle of the field, sadly without any support but the Stormers were on the attack. They opted for a scrum from a free kick and attacked again, eventually going left off quick ball for De Waal to cut through for a try which he converted. 7-0 after 16 minutes.
At this stage the Stormers were looking good and then the cobra struck. They went on a varied, quick attack and the Stormers scurried and scrambled but kept on bringing their men down till, after 12 phases, Donald got into a half gap and gave to Messam who cut back and clean through past AJ Venter and Dylan des Fountain for a try at the posts. 7-all after 26 minutes.
There was a drab time in the match when both sides kicked and kicked and the crowd grew restless.
Bax came sharply into the line and De Waal footed ahead to force a five-metre line-out for the Stormers. They won the line-out and then lost the ball and the Chiefs hoofed the ball downfield. Tonderai Chavhanga went to catch the ball but managed only to knock it into touch. Rugby is a game of consequences. The consequence of that action was line-out to the Chiefs somewhere near the half-way line.
The cobra struck again.
They threw in deep and played off the top a skip pass and Richard Kahui had the ball. He raced away from Peter Grant and gave inside to scrumhalf Toby Morland on his left and Morland scored near the posts. 14-7 and it was half-time.
The Stormers played better in the second half with the same result – they lost it 14-7.
It could have been different. Chavhanga went on a long swerving, accelerating run towards the left and then they went wide right where Dwayne Vermeulen beat Donald and raced down the right tramline with Tiaan Liebenberg outside of him. Vermeulen stayed in the tramline and in possession till Messam brought him down just short of the line.
The Chiefs attacked again and big Ben May was close and Messam actually over the line where he lost the ball forward. Naqelevuki burst and De Waal and Bax were close. Then Mils Muliaina got the Chiefs attacking again. His kick forced a five-metre line-out for the Chiefs and then he was himself close to scoring so close that it took the TMO’s scrutiny to decide that he had just not made it.
When the Chiefs scored again it was a replica of their second try in the first half. Again a Stormer error – this time kicking a ball out on the full that had been taken back into the 22 – gave the Chiefs a comfortable line-out. Again they went wide to Kahui and again the big centre cut through. As he was tackled by Martin Muller he passed to Morland on his inside and again the scrumhalf scored at the posts. 21-7 after 64 minutes.
The Chiefs then went on a bonus-point hunt but the Stormers were resilient. Time was fading away when the King Cobra struck again. This time he did it himself. It was not from some clean cut with violins playing but rather a blast from the bassoon as he put his head down and drove through Venter and Morgan Newman to stretch out and score the try. That was the bonus point.
There were three minutes to play and in that time the Stormers attacked left, right and left again and Naqelevuki stumbled over for a try of characteristic laziness. Grant converted and the final whistle went.
It was a lively match but it sent out a loud message that this Chiefs side really is a good side. The Stormers ran their challenge at them but did not have the power up front to challenge them in scrums or line-outs or the intent to win the tackle.
Man of the Match: Richard Kahui – the best attacking force and the hardest defensive force on the field.
For the Stormers:
Tries: De Waal, Naqelevuki
Cons: De Waal, Grant
For the Chiefs:
Tries: Messam, Morland 2, Kahui
Cons: Donald 3, Delany