Some brilliance built on sheer guts gave the Stormers their first win on their tour and first win in Australasia since 2016 when they beat the Rebels 41-24 in Melbourne on Friday.
It was an unexpected win against the Rebels who suffered only their third defeat from eight matches and are still top of the Australian conference and second on the combined log of the three conferences.
The guts part of the win come were the unbelievable 174 successful tackles from 196 attempts that the Stormers pulled off to only 59 plus 33 misses by the home side.
Steven Kitshoff’s men had marginally more than 30 of the possession, less than 30% territory – only 21% before halftime – but made more clean breaks (13-8) than the Rebels. They won less rucks (37-103) but played more rugby.
The Stormers were more secure in their handling than the Rebels, except immediately after halftime when they were 10-3 up and Jean-Luc du Plessis flung a long pass from touch to the middle of the field which was well intercepted by Reece Hodge who scored under the posts.
Where was this backline until now? The Stormers backs ran well, linked well and rounded off well with all of them playing probably their best rugby of the season.
Four minutes later Dillyn Leyds set the Stormers ball rolling when he ran a great line to collect the ball in the gap, moved it out to the left where Damian Willemse ran and sent replacement No 8 Juarno Augustus over for his first try at this level. The halftime 10-all scoreline jumper to 34-10 within the next 14 minutes when the match was effectively won.
The Rebels responded with two goals but it wasn’t nearly enough, especially when Ruan Nel rubbed it in two minutes from the end with a fifth try that was converted.
The win moved the Stormers up to third place on the SA Conference behind the Sharks and Bulls who have a match in hand.
Rebels (3) 24: Tries: Reece Hodge, Will Genia, Campbell Magnay. Conversions: Quade Cooper (3). Penalty: Cooper.
Stormers (10) 41: Tries: Dillyn Leyds, Juarno Augustus, Damian de Allende, Ruhan Nel (2). Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (4), Josh Stander. Penalties: Du Plessis, Stander.