The Stormers lost their first match at their new home, the Cape Town Stadium, when the Sharks staged a remarkable second-half Rainbow Cup comeback. However, of more concern than the 30-33 loss would be the injuries to fly-half Kade Wolhuter, who left the field with a serious-looking knee issue midway through the second half, and Herschel Jantjies, who also left the field late in the match with a leg injury.
However, credit must go to the Sharks who trailed 12-23 at half-time before scoring 21-unanswered second-half points to race into a 33-23 lead. They then held off a strong late charge from the hosts, who narrowed the gap to 30-33 with a try in the last ten minutes.
It was an entertaining spectacle at times, with nine tries scored between the two sides. However, the two red cards that the Stormers were shown proved decisive. The Stormers did not waste any time in taking control of the game through a penalty and two early tries which saw them race out to a 17-0 lead.
Wolhuter got the scoreboard going with a penalty just in front of halfway after Pieter-Steph du Toit had been taken out off the ball. The first try saw some magic handling from the backline as Ruhan Nel broke the line out wide to find Damian Willemse who put Jantjies over.
They followed that up soon afterwards with their second as Wolhuter stepped into space and then released Rikus Pretorius to canter over. That was followed by a quick double-blow as Seabelo Senatla was shown a red card after colliding with an opposition player in the air before Willie Engelbrecht was shown a yellow card for a high tackle.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 30, 2021
The visitors took advantage with a try in the corner from prop Thomas du Toit, but the Stormers regrouped well and responded with two more penalties from Wolhuter. The Sharks had the final say in the first half with their second try, but it was the Stormers that took an eleven-point lead into the half-time break.
The visitors scored two quick tries at the start of the second half, both from lock Reniel Hugo, to take the lead for the first time in the match. Engelbrecht was shown his second yellow card for another high tackle and Hugo was over for his hat-trick try shortly afterwards.
That gave the visitors a ten-point lead and they set about trying to defend it for the rest of the match. The Stormers hammered away in opposition territory and the breakthrough finally came off the back of a strong scrum, with a cross-kick from Abner van Reenen was palmed down by Edwill van der Merwe for Willemse to score.
It was a tense finish as the Stormers pressed for the win and they looked to have sealed victory when van Reenen kicked through a grubber for Ruhan Nel, but he was not able to control the ball in the act of scoring.
"His coaching role in Japan makes English rugby look RIDICULOUS…"
– Woodward has let rip in his latest newspaper columnhttps://t.co/8SYakMGnqk
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 28, 2021
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