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Edinburgh blown away by Stormers

By PA
WP Nel of Edinburgh during the United Rugby Championship match between Ulster and Edinburgh at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Play-off contenders Edinburgh suffered a comprehensive defeat in Cape Town as United Rugby Championship rivals the Stormers cruised to a 43-21 victory.

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Edinburgh’s hopes of cutting the gap on fourth-placed Munster were dashed by a Stormers team that produced some thrilling rugby.

Suleiman Hartzenberg scored three tries and his fellow wing Leolin Zas touched down twice, with the Stormers securing a bonus point before half-time.

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John Dobson explains Deon Fourie’s absence from the Stormers team

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John Dobson explains Deon Fourie’s absence from the Stormers team

Number eight Evan Roos also crossed twice, with Manie Libbok kicking three conversions and Jurie Matthee one, while Edinburgh posted tries by wing Jake Henry, number eight Bill Mata and replacement hooker Paddy Harrison, all converted by Ben Healy.

The Stormers made a flying start and went ahead after 10 minutes when they attacked from deep, showcasing some brilliant handling, before Libbok’s kick into space was gathered by Hartzenberg and he crossed unopposed.

Libbok added the conversion but Edinburgh were unfazed and they hit back through Henry, who gathered a loose ball 20 metres out and sprinted clear for a try which Healy converted.

Both teams had made their attacking intentions clear and the Stormers struck again when scrum-half Paul de Wet fired out a long pass to full-back Damien Willemse, who perfectly timed a scoring delivery to Hartzenberg.

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Libbok’s touchline conversion went over via the post and crossbar and he turned creator again just before half-time when another clever tactical kick caused chaos in Edinburgh’s defence.

The visitors could not deal with it, fumbling possession, and Zas enjoyed a simple run-in as Stormers extended their lead to 12 points just before the break.

There was still time for Edinburgh to put themselves back in contention, with Mata charging over from the back of a lineout.

Healy’s conversion made it 19-14 but more scintillating handling by the Stormers created a bonus-point try for Zas that Matthee converted as he took over kicking duties while Libbok received treatment for a head wound.

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Edinburgh’s woes continued early in the second period as Hartzenberg finished off another fine handling move to complete his hat-trick, then Roos went over and it was damage limitation for the visitors.

Harrison’s score briefly gave them hope of a possible losing bonus point but that was extinguished by Roos completing his try double.

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