Tough Loss

The DHL Stormers prevailed at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on Saturday evening when they defeated the Hollywoodbets Sharks 25-21 in a tight Vodacom United Rugby Championship coastal derby.

Over 31 000 fans came out in support of their team and may have been denied a victory, but certainly got to watch a massive game between the two rivals.

Brave, committed and accurate defence from the Hollywoodbets Sharks was called for and was delivered absolutely and resolutely as they were called upon to prevent early points from the visitors.

But relentless attack from the Stormers finally paid off, their 95% and more possession in the opening quarter hour resulting in the first try of the game from a clever cross kick into space and the try scored in the corner for a 5-nil lead.

Their second try came as play went into the second quarter, Hollywoodbets Sharks attacking ball stolen and from the breakout, the visitors struck gold under the posts for a 12-nil lead.

Stung by the pressure on the scoreboard, the Hollywoodbets Sharks struck back in emphatic fashion, putting together a patient and ultimately effective attack, the forwards smashing it up close to the tryline before Ox Nche managed to dive over the defence to score a TMO-referred try which Curwin Bosch had no trouble converting.

The Stormers added a penalty to their score to take a 15-7 lead in the closing minutes of the first half but it was the Hollywoodbets Sharks who finished off the half on attack, but couldn’t close out as they trailed by eight points at the break.

The second half started off at a high pace, both sides looking to add to their scoreboard tallies but it was the visitors who appeared to score first, the initial decision was no try but on TMO referral, the ball was shown to have been grounded for the Stormers’ third try and with the touchline conversion, the Cape Town side had a 22-7 lead with half an hour remaining.

With the fans bringing the energy, the Hollywoodbets Sharks delivered an important blow, James Venter somehow torpedoing his way through the defence after a long build-up of pressure. Siya Masuku converted, the Durbanites were eight points behind and the Stormers under pressure losing a man to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-down earlier in the move.

As the game hit the final 10 minutes, a Hollywoodbets Sharks attack broke down with an intercept and although the Stormers couldn’t make more of their possession, they did earn a penalty which pushed them into a precarious 11 point lead.

Good control though rounded off the Hollywoodbets Sharks’ third try, Bongi Mbonambi showing good street smarts after the forwards had put the home side defence under huge pressure before the inevitable score from the Springbok hooker, back to his best in no time. Masuku converted and it was a four point game with three minutes remaining.

As the game hit full-time, a penalty meant there was still victory to chase but the frustrations that plagued the team denied them a remarkable fightback.

Hollywoodbets Sharks prop Ox Nche said after the game that, “You expect a South African derby to be physical and it was but they used their chances well. Thanks to the Stormers for a great game and to the supporters who came out today.”