The Stormers’ mission for the week is clear: beat the Sharks and claim a spot in the playoffs.
With one match left to play during the Conference phase of this year’s Super Rugby campaign, the Stormers are currently in seventh place on the log after beating the Sunwolves 31-18 at Newlands on Saturday.
And while it wasn’t the best of performances by Robbie Fleck’s charges, it was enough to keep them in the hunt for a quarterfinal spot after the Sharks went down 34-7 to the Jaguares in Argentina later that evening.
Fleck sent in a depleted side to face the men from Japan on Saturday and the experience gained by these rookies against a Sunwolves team that refused to roll over will be valuable in what is effectively a knockout game against the Sharks this coming weekend.
The Newlands faithful probably expected their team to turn on the style from the first whistle against the Sunwolves, but had to wait until the 15th minute for their team to cross the whitewash when fit-again Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi scored off the back of a rolling maul after the Sunwolves had taken the lead with a penalty conversion earlier on (7-3).
Full-time at DHL Newlands where the DHL Stormers scored four tries in their 31-18 victory against the Sunwolves. See you here next week for the coastal derby against Cell C Sharks. #STOvSUN #iamastormer— DHL STORMERS (@THESTORMERS) June 8, 2019
Then in the 29th minute, with the Sunwolves on attack in the Stormers’ 22, centre Dan Kriel made a good hit in midfield and ripped the ball away from the Sunwolves to launch a counterattack that ended in right wing Craig Barry dotting down to make it 14-3.
The visitors then earned a scrum penalty before the break to close the gap to 14-6 at half time.
While it wasn't the most exciting first half, the Stormers knew they had to up their game in the second 40.
And seven minutes later it was another bit of individual brilliance, this time by Man of the Match and No.8 Jaco Coetzee, that led to the Stormers’ third five-pointer.
Not held in the tackle on the Wolves’ 22, Coetzee got up and stormed his way to tryline before selling a dummy to the last Sunwolves defender and sailing over for the try (21-6).
With 20 minutes to play, the Stormers looked like they were going to hold on for the three-try bonus-point buffer.
But Sunwolves try-machine Semisi Masirewa had other ideas as he dotted down between the uprights to make it 21-13.
After a successful penalty conversion, the Stormers had another shot at the bonus point from a five-metre lineout seven minutes before the final whistle and Coetzee then powered over for his second try of the match (31-13).
Stormers v Sunwolves | Super Rugby 2019 Rd 17 Highlights— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) June 8, 2019
The @sunwolves put up a spirited performance but the @THESTORMERS come away with the 31-18 victory in Cape Town.#SuperRugby #STOvSUN pic.twitter.com/wbkrxCUw7I
Straight from the restart, though, the Sunwolves spoiled the hosts' party after Masirewa dotted down following some good hands by their backline (31-18).
Despite not running away with their visitors, the Stormers will be happy that the sun is still shining on their campaign.
Now all they need to do to make the quarterfinals is beat the Sharks at Newlands.