URC – DHL Stormers Made To Work Hard For Win Against Hollywoodbets Sharks


The Hollywoodbets Sharks suffered more Vodacom United Rugby Championship misery as the DHL Stormers inflicted a ninth league defeat on them by winning 25-21 in Durban.

They continue to prop up the table with a solitary win from 10 starts this season while their South African rivals remain strong playoff contenders.

The DHL Stormers cruised into an early lead through tries from hooker Joseph Dweba and scrum-half Paul de Wet, with centre Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu adding one conversion and then kicking a penalty just before half-time.

Prop Ox Nche, flanker James Venter and hooker Bongi Mbonambi claimed touchdowns for the Hollywoodbets Sharks while Curwin Bosch and Siya Masuku (2) kicked conversions, securing a losing bonus point. However, wing Ben Loader's 49th-minute touchdown, converted by Feinberg-Mngomezulu, proved decisive and the centre also slotted a late penalty.

The DHL Stormers, 16-15 conquerors of the Hollywoodbets Sharks in Cape Town just over a month ago, dominated the opening exchanges and were only denied a try when flanker Evan Roos was tackled into touch by home full-back Aphelele Fassi.

The Sharks were forced into prolonged periods of defending, making 42 tackles during the opening quarter, but their resistance was finally broken after 17 minutes when Loader delivered a scoring pass to Dweba, who brushed off Fassi's tackle to score.

The DHL Stormers were moving through the gears, and a touch of brilliance by full-back Warrick Gelant created a second try after he gathered his own kick ahead and fed a supporting De Wet, who touched down between the posts and Feinberg-Mngomezulu converted.

The Hollywoodbets Sharks, though, did not fold in the face of DHL Stormers' territorial control and Nche's try nine minutes before the break, converted by Bosch, gave them hope.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu then kicked a penalty from just inside the Hollywoodbets Sharks' half and the DHL Stormers led 15-7 at half-time.

The DHL Stormers began the second period as they did the first, stretching the Hollywoodbets Sharks' defence in all directions before Loader rounded off a sweeping move that had heavily involved Roos and crossed wide out.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu's conversion left the Hollywoodbets Sharks 15 points adrift but the home team had no intention of going away quietly and Venter's 59th-minute try, which Masuku converted, set up an intriguing final quarter.

The DHL Stormers had to work hard to close things out and another Feinberg-Mngomezulu penalty gave them breathing space until Mbonambi's late try that Masuku converted ensured a tense finale.

Hollywoodbets Sharks: Tries: Ox Nche, James Venter, Bongi Mbonambi. Conversions: Curwin Bosch, Siya Masuku (2).
DHL Stormers: Tries: Joseph Dweba, Paul de Wet, Ben Loader. Conversions: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (2). Penalties: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (2).


Hollywoodbets Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Francois Venter, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Vincent Tshituka, 21 Bradley Davids, 22 Siya Masuku, 23 Aphiwe Dyantyi.

DHL Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 12 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jurie Matthee, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Evan Roos, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ali Vermaak. Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Wandisile Simelane, 23 Angelo Davids.