Ospreys blown away by Stormers despite the return of 8 Test players
The Stormers completed a clean sweep of victories for South African teams in the United Rugby Championship this weekend by dispatching the Ospreys 29-13 in Cape Town. Eight players returned from Guinness Six Nations duty with Wales to bolster the visitors, yet they still collapsed to a four-try rout that came a week after they were crushed 45-15 by the Lions.
From the moment scrum-half Paul de Wet finished a dazzling move in the sixth minute, it was clear the South African Shield leaders were operating at a different level as they climbed back to sixth in the overall table. Barely a shot was fired by the Welsh region, who are still searching for a first away win since October, and the writing was on the wall when they fell 14-3 behind inside the opening 10 minutes.
De Wet and lock Adre Smith finished incisive and accurate moves involving a host of Stormers players to signpost the trouble ahead. Manie Libbok was expertly directing operations at fly-half and only two penalties from his opposite number Gareth Anscombe were keeping the Ospreys in temporary touch.
Libbok slipped between two forwards to renew the hosts’ onslaught and once flanker Hacjivah Dayimani had sucked in two defenders, Leolin Zas used his strength to complete a tricky finish. The Ospreys were contributing to their own downfall by turning the ball over too easily and their opponents needed no second invitation to attack with Libbok and Zas rampant.
Too often the ball was punted aimlessly at opponents who were electric on the counter-attack and, in the 55th minute, a loose kick led directly to a second try for Zas, who chipped over the defence and gathered the ball to score.
The Stormers’ explosive left wing was sin-binned for tackling without retreating 10 yards as a free-kick was being taken and there followed a promising spell from Toby Booth’s side, who had the hosts pinned in the left corner.
The blue wall held firm until replacement Max Nagy crossed in overtime for the Ospreys’ only try of the evening.
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