Rugby

Stormers start well, end badly against Blues

31 March 2019 - 00:00 By CRAIG RAY


The Stormers crashed to their 12th consecutive defeat in New Zealand when they went down 24-9 to the Blues in Auckland yesterday.
The defeat was the Stormers' second on their Australasian tour as the home side earned a try-scoring bonus point when wing Rieko Ioane scored their third try three minutes from the end.
Blues flyhalf Otere Black scored 14 points from a try, three conversions and a penalty while flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis landed three penalties for the Stormers.
Despite enjoying the bulk of territory and possession, the Stormers did little with the ball and several multiple-phase attacks ended limply with an error.
The Blues played the last 11 minutes with 14 men after wing Tanielu Tele'a was red-carded for taking opposite number Dillyn Leyds out in the air.
The Stormers were still in the game at that stage and soon had a kickable penalty in front of the posts that would have made it a one-score game with 10 minutes to play. But replacement SP Marais scuffed the kick from directly in front and that ended the Stormers' challenge.
Mistakes told the story of the Stormers' day with 24 handling errors and 21 missed tackles. The Blues missed over 20 tackles too, but defended twice as much.
The Stormers surprised the Blues early on with their attacking intent and tactical decision to move the ball through phases instead of using their set piece.
After a bright start the Stormers led 6-0 only to see their hard work undone when Tele'a scored from a lineout attack that started 70m from the Stormers' tryline.
Inevitably, the introduction of veteran centre Sonny Bill Williams altered the course of the match as he created the Blues' second try with a trademark offload to free Black under the crossbar.
The game was still in the balance but the Stormers fumbled and stumbled to the end before Ioane confirmed the outcome.
Blues(10) 24
Stormers (6) 9
Blues - Tries: Tanielu Tele'a, Otere Black, Rieko Ioane. Conversions: Black (3). Penalty: Black.
Stormers: Penalties: Jean-Luc du Plessis (3).

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