Late Hanigan try breaks Stormers hearts
Cape Town – A late try by Waratahs flank Ned Hanigan gave the Australian side a dramatic 34-27 win over the Stormers in Sydney on Saturday.
The Stormers lost a lineout just outside their own 22-metre area when replacement hooker Dean Muir overthrew the ball to a four-man line, allowing the Waratahs to turnover possession.
Two phases later Wallaby flank Hanigan bumped off Stormers wing Raymond Rhule to score in the corner after the hooter sounded.
It was a heart-breaking way for the Stormers to lose a game that never saw the lead stretch beyond one score between either team and ended a four-match Super Rugby losing streak for the Waratahs.
The home side scored four tries – the others coming from fullback Israel Folau, flank Michael Hooper and hooker Damien Fitzgerald with flyhalf Bernard Foley scoring 14 points.
Stormers fullback SP Marais contributed 17 points from a try, three conversions and two penalties while prop Steven Kitshoff and flank Kobus van Dyk both scored their maiden Super Rugby tries.
Defeat has made ta difficult tour even more daunting for the Stormers, who take on the Crusaders in Christchurch next week followed by the Highlanders in Dunedin the week after.
The Stormers’ scrum completely annihilated the Waratahs set piece but the visitors did not make the most of that dominance.
Waratahs lock Rob Simmons was yellow-carded in the 57th minute for dangerous play with the scores locked at 24-24. While he was off the Stormers couldn’t capitalise on their advantage, giving away a few needless penalties to ease the pressure on the home team.
Soon after Simmons was carded, the Waratahs were three metres from their own tryline when Stormers lock Pieter-Steph du Toit took out an opponent well off the ball.
From the ensuing penalty the Waratahs worked their way up field, winning another penalty, which Foley landed to put pressure back on the tourists.
Earlier on the Stormers gifted a try to Hooper when Marais tried to run out of his own in-goal area and had the ball stripped.
Folau’s try was a score of beautiful simplicity. He won an aerial battle for a pinpoint Foley kick, knocking flyhalf Damian Willemse out of his path to score.
Kitshoff’s score was a result of good work from a restart, with Rhule putting pressure on the Waratahs defence, forcing a turnover. The ball was worked through another phase before Rhule popped up on the sideline to throw a superb pass to Kitshoff for the try.
Waratahs – Tries: Israel Folau, Michael Hooper, Damien Fitzpatrick, Ned Hanigan. Conversions: Bernard Foley (4). Penalties: Foley (2).
Stormers – Tries: Steven Kitshoff, Kobus van Dyk, SP Marais. Conversions: Marais (3). Penalties: Marais (2).