These were nail-biting stories, but things are rosy in Stormersland

Henry

Stormers supporters probably already know by now to steel themselves for a nail-biting affair when Ulster come round.

The Belfast fifteen always look better than many of the other European visitors at the DHL Stadium. And Saturday night was once again no exception.

The home team finally concluded an exciting duel with 13 – 7 after its players mercifully found their feet in the last 40 minutes.

Because in the first half Ulster looked significantly better on the rugby field and the Stormers struggled to light the pipe, New Year’s Eve to smoke

Poor handling added to the overall frustration, while the Capetians also struggled to work together in attack.

Strange when you consider that barely a week before they ran Edinburgh off his feet.

If the first half can be summarized briefly: The Stormers were lucky to face a deficit of just 7 – 0; Ulster’s lead could easily have been much greater.

Still, by this time the home team knows how to handle United Rugby Championship pressure. After all, they held up the silverware in the first season, while they played in the final again last year.

Things suddenly fell into place a bit after the break.

Yes, there were still tackles and other unforced errors, but some of the opportunistic ball-slinging sessions found willing hands and the Stormers began hammering away at the Ulster dam.

Not to mention substitute hooker JJ Kotze’s incredible kick.

Evan Roos’ try and Manie Libbok’s kicking foot – his radar was also better tuned in the second half – finally concluded the showdown for the home team.

Could things have turned out differently?

Certainly.

Does the renewed attack in the second half tell you something about the Stormers’ character?

Definitely.

  • Scorers:

Stormers: Three: Evan Roos. Goal kick: Manie Libbok. Penalty kicks: Libbok (2).

Ulster: Three: Nick Timoney. Goal kick: John Cooney.

  • PRC Scoring:
  1. Leinster: 54 points
  2. Glasgow Warriors: 49 points
  3. Bulls: 45 points
  4. Munster: 43 points
  5. Stormers: 39 points
  6. Benetton: 37 points
  7. Ospreys: 35 points
  8. Ulster: 35 points
  9. Edinburgh: 34 points
  10. Connacht: 34 points
  11. Lions: 34 points
  12. Cardiff: 24 points
  13. Sharks: 18 points
  14. Scarlets: 16 points
  15. Dragons: 15 points
  16. Zebra: 15 points