CAPE TOWN – A pleasing first-half display by the Stormers was enough to see off the Hurricanes, but coach John Dobson will be worried about the injuries to Springbok duo Siya Kolisi and Bongi Mbonambi.
The Cape outfit prevailed 27-0 over an outclassed Wellington side missing star flyhalf Beauden Barrett, who has joined the Blues, and the try bonus point will have been particularly welcomed by Dobson.
While the opening half for the season was never going to be perfect – especially with the World Cup Boks returning late to training – the big names provided enough firepower and skill to race into a 19-0 lead after 27 minutes.
Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies was the star of the show, with the Bok halfback dotting down himself and also keeping the Hurricanes defence busy with a couple of devastating breaks and quick service to the backs.
The powerful home pack were well on top throughout, and following a few strong carries after a lineout drive, wing Sergeal Petersen was the grateful recipient of Jantjies’ perfect cross-kick to score the first try in the eighth minute.
Flyhalf Damian Willemse missed the touchline conversion and a penalty after that, with a poor strike that failed to reach the posts from 40 metres out, but the No 10 was his usual elusive self with ball-in-hand with a few eye-catching sidesteps and solid tactical kicking.
The all-Bok front row of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe ground their opponents into the Newlands turf in front of 18,687 spectators, with Kolisi and World Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit not far behind.
Kitshoff barged his away over from close quarters for the second Stormers try, again after a lineout maul in the 19th minute, while Jantjies pounced on a loose Hurricanes pass to grab a third touchdown soon after.
In between, though, skipper Kolisi went down after a late nudge into his hip by Hurricanes hooker Ricky Riccitelli, which caused his left knee to twist awkwardly. The No 8 eventually stood up, but walked gingerly to the sideline and was replaced by Ernst van Rhyn.
Kolisi’s departure seemed to take the wind out of the Stormers’ sails, and referee Jaco Peyper’s strict policing of the breakdown didn’t help the home side either, who were penalised on a few occasions before halftime.
Things became worse on the injury front early in the second half, when hooker Mbonambi had to be helped off by two teammates and was replaced by Scarra Ntubeni, who also suffered a heavy hit from Hurricanes flank Vaea Fifita, who was yellow-carded.
Willemse slotted the resultant penalty, and also grabbed a late intercept try to finish things off in style for the Stormers.
The four tries and dominant display bodes well for the rest of the season, but coach Dobson will hope that Kolisi and Mbonambi will be back soon, with the Stormers playing four out of their first five matches at Newlands.
Tries: Sergeal Petersen, Steven Kitshoff, Herschel Jantjies, Damian Willemse
Conversions: Willemse (2)
Penalty: Willemse (1).
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Siya Kolisi, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Johan du Toit, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Rikus Pretorius
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Fraser Armstrong
Substitutes: 16 Asafo Auma, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Tevita Mafileo, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Devan Flanders, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Vince Aso
Stormers v Hurricanes
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Egon Seconds (South Africa)
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans (South Africa)