The Stormers extended a less than friendly welcome to the Currie Cup Champions of 2011 last night, proving perhaps that Currie Cup success is one thing, but Super rugby is a different kettle of urm fish altogether.
Butch James kicked an early penalty for the Lions, but then the Stormers turned the tables on them.
The Stormers scored three tries to zero, wing Geo Aplon weighed in with two superb efforts that would surely grab the attention of a certain new Bok coach, Heyneke Meyer. His first saw him step three defenders on his way to the line, but his last try was the result of some good teamwork with Gerhard van den Heever. Van den Heever timed the last pass to perfection, leaving Aplon with little more to do than a casual canter over the line, or maybe it just looked casual compared to the blistering pace he displayed during his first effort?
Joe Peterson, back from his stint in France, was on target with the boot in the first half but was replaced by Van Den Heever at half time. Gary van Aswegan took over the kicking duties.
While both teams made their intentions clear early on, young Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth caught the eye with some huge hits out there. For the Lions Taute and Killian looked really dangerous but the rock solid Stormers defence held firm to keep the Lions scoreless on the night.
It`s not all doom and gloom for the Lions just yet if you take into account the likes of Hollenbach, Van Heerden and Elton Jantjies were unavailable for this fixture. One worrying aspect for Coach Mitchell, should be their line out performance. The Lions managed to secure just one of their first five.
I can say from personal experience that last night`s encounter was a huge improvement on the corresponding fixture this time last year. The 2011 Neo Africa match was played in a little warmer conditions perhaps, but last nights` match just felt like a more . . . serious encounter.
Tries: Gio Aplon ( 2 ) and Stephen Kitshoff
Conversions: Joe Pietersen and Gary van Aswegan
Penalties: Joe Pietersen ( 2 ) and Gary van Aswegan
Penalties: Butch James ( 2 )