The Stormers had a bye in the first round, but they didn’t let it stop them from winning in a difficult match.
After the first scrum of the match, the home team scored in the corner thanks to a barnstorming effort by Evan Roos, who broke the line and made sure that the last defender in his path sheepishly sat down. In the fifth minute, flyhalf Manie Libbok converted a try for a full-point score to take the lead (7-0).
The first 10 minutes of the match belonged to the Stormers, but after that, Connacht began to exert their influence, and the Stormers enabled them to enter the contest.
After the Stormers increased their advantage to double digits with Libbok’s goal off the tee after the visitors were penalised for being offside, the Irish team scored their first points when flyhalf Conor Fitzgerald converted a penalty to make the score 7-3. (10-3).
Libbok made sure that their side of the scoreboard kept moving as he slotted a monster kick to go 13-3 ahead in the 26th minute, keeping the scoreboard on their side of the line while Connacht took control in the second quarter as John Dobson’s side did themselves no favours with their high error rate.
When lock Marvin Orie received a yellow card, the Stormers’ job became somewhat more difficult, and their lineout issues and Connacht’s vigorous mauling allowed the Irish to fully capitalise shortly before halftime when hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin ran over for an unconverted try (13-8).
When Libbok again struck the black dot in the 44th minute of the second half, the Stormers scored their first points after the break. His second penalty conversion started the onslaught. The decisive blow was delivered by Connacht receiving a red card for making contact with Seabelo Senatla’s head.
After some strong work by Angelo Davids, Stormers hooker Andre-Hugo Venter completed a spectacular piece of backs-and-forwards interaction to go over the whitewash, and Hacjivah Dayimani added his name to the ledger.
The Stormers loose forward Marcel Theunissen crossed the line after a powerful driving maul by the host team to score the bonus-point try. Connacht answered in the closing 10 minutes with a touchdown.
Next weekend, the Stormers will play Edinburgh at Cape Town Stadium.
Stormers 38: Tries from Marcel Theunissen, Andre-Hugo Venter, Hacjivah Dayimani, and Evan Roos. Manie Libbok conversions (3). Sanctions: Libbok (4)
Dylan Tierney and Jack Aungier both scored tries for Connacht, who finished with 15. Conor Fitzgerald converted. Fitzgerald is penalised»Stormers beat Connacht 38-15 on Saturday to open their URC title defence«