Stormers duo Huw Jones and Leolin Zas scored seven tries between them to secure their team a 52-24 victory over the Kings on Saturday.
The win at Newlands in Cape Town doesn’t mean much for the Stormers as they’d already secured the Africa 1 conference from the Bulls.
The Stormers played a close to full strength side against the Kings in order to keep momentum going ahead of next week, but unfortunately they lost Kobus van Wyk and Jean-Luc du Plessis to injury during the game.
The loss sees the Kings stay on the bottom of the standings and finish on nine points, tied with the Sunwolves for the wooden spoon.
The Kings were solid on defence for the majority of the game and the scoreline is somewhat deceitful in terms of what actually happened. A common trend throughout 2016 has been doing well in the first-half but letting it slip, and this was no different for the men from Port Elizabeth.
Jones was spectacular, despite scoring four tries, he beat six defenders and made six line breaks in the game. He attacked the gainline well with a lot of aggression and was an enigma throughout that the Kings couldn’t decipher.
The scoreline was definitely one sided but the battle in the set-pieces was an interesting one. The Stormers lost three scrums to the Kings, mainly through great scrummaging from young loosehead Sithembiso Sithole, who gave Vincent Koch a bit of a run for his money, once or twice. But the Stormers line-out remains the strongest in the competition despite resting Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph Du Toit. Scottish international Jones scored his team’s first points the game within the first two minutes as he got a long pass from his fly-half before chipping over the defence and collecting his own kick to dot down.
The Stormers made it clear that they came to score tries as they had plenty of opportunities to go for poles but chose to opt for the scrum right in front of the posts. That worked for the Cape side after Jones got the ball from another long pass and scored his second try under the posts.
Dewald Human added his team’s first points of the game through a penalty in the Stormers 22.
After a fairly quiet 10 minutes the Stormers brought wave after wave of attacks against the Kings. Until after a scrum in the Kings 22, Damian de Allende received the ball with Sikhumbuzo Notshe running the dummy that sucked in the Kings’ defence. Zas caught another long pass from De Allende and bundled over two defenders to score.
After a fantastic Kings attack on the Stormers try-line and three penalty advantages for offsides, home scrum-half Louis Screuder was shown a yellow card. The Kings got the penalty and went for line-out but the Stormers greatest weapon is that and they stole it to get themselves out of danger.
The Kings finally got a five pointer after camping on the Stormers 22 for a while. Shane Gates got the ball close to the wing and put an expertly weighted grubber in for Malcolm Jaer to score.
The half-time score was 21-10 to the hosts as the Kings closed the gap just before the end of the half.
Fly-half Du Plessis went off with an injury just before the hooter after the young number 10 was having a blinder. He was replaced by Brandon Thomson.
Jones then scored a hat-trick after some clever play from De Allende again. He drew in three Kings players before giving it wide to Jones who dotted it down.
After Elgar Watts dropped the ball inside his own five-metre line, the Stormers gathered. Rynhardt Elstadt almost went over but was just brought down before the line, and the Stormers swung the ball wide quickly to give to Zas his second try of the game and some excitement to the second-half.
The Kings then finally gained some momentum, and looked dangerous on attack. They gave it wide but just as they thought they were doing well Zas intercepted and ran 70 metres for the try.
Rookie playmaker Thomson then added a five pointer to his score. Jones made a beautiful break downfield but was just caught by the cover defence. The Stormers then used the field position well by giving the ball some more air and Thomson wrapped around picked up the ball from a terrible pass and fell over the line.
The Kings weren’t done yet though as De Allende tried to kick downfield but it went straight down Kevin Luiter’s throat. The nippy scrum-half showed tremendous pace to burn the Stormers cover defence and then drew Jones before giving it to Wandile Mjekevu for a wonderfully try.
The Stormers replied immediately as De Allende, who seemed to be in the middle of everything, gave it to Jones who beat the Kings defence on the outside to go in for his fourth try before Kings centre Stefan Watermeyer had the final say at the death to make it 52-24.
Tries: Jones 4, Zas 3, Thomson
Cons: Du Plessis 3, Thomson 2
Tries: Jaer, Mjekevu, Watermeyer
Cons: Human, Watts 2
Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Schalk Burger (c), 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 JP Smith, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Scott van Breda
Kings: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Dewald Human, 9 James Hall, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Sti Sithole
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse/Sintu Manjezi, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Jeremy Ward
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Quinton Immelman, Rodney Bonaparte
TMO: Shaun Veldsman