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Clinical Stormers too good for Highlanders

Date

HIGHLANDERS 6 STORMERS 21

Bryan Habana of the Stormers attempts to blast past Chris Noakes of the Highlanders.

Bryan Habana of the Stormers attempts to blast past Chris Noakes of the Highlanders. Photo: Getty Images

The Stormers kept the Highlanders tryless and continued their unbeaten Super Rugby season with a comprehensive 21-6 win at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday.

MATCH STATS

It was a clinical performance from the Stormers, an intimidating effort up front well backed by intelligent kicking, incisive back play and some bruising midfield defence.

Winger Gio Aplon and fullback Joe Pietersen scored first-half tries as the visitors went to halftime leading 15-6 over the Highlanders, who had lost just one game and were just two points behind the Stormers on the table going into the round seven match.

In the 12th minute, captain Jean de Villiers pounced on a Highlanders fumble and toed ahead for Aplon to gather and touch down.

An end-to-end piece of brilliance just on the half-hour mark extended the Stormers' lead, as fullback Pietersen collected an ill-timed Aaron Smith chip kick and launched a counterattack which he ended 90 metres later with a try.

The Highlanders were guilty of wasting the few chances they did create in the first 40 minutes, with a somewhat aimless kicking game never really creating any pressure on the Stormers.

Five-eighth Chris Noakes booted two penalties for the Highlanders.

But they were shut out by a combative South African effort which allowed them neither time nor space for the full 80 minutes.

The second stanza turned into something of an arm wrestle, with two Peter Grant penalties the only addition to the scoreboard.

The Highlanders' pacey backline was smothered, struggling to find any space to launch from, and the home team couldn't even capitalise after Stormers hooker Tiaan Lienberg was yellow carded in the 69th minute for handling on the ground.

The South Africans' line-out was rock solid, with lock Andries Bekker unstoppable in garnering a steady supply of ball.

And although the Highlanders' scrum was competitive, they struggled for front-foot ball, too often rushed as the speed of the Stormers' defensive line kept the pressure ramped up.

STORMERS 21 (Gio Aplon, Joe Pietersen tries; Peter Grant con; Grant 2, Pietersen pens) bt HIGHLANDERS 6 (Chris Noakes 2 pens) at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Referee: Chris Pollock.

AAP

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BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Stats
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STO 27 vs BLU 16 Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Stats
CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15 vs BRU 20 Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Stats
LIO 19 vs STO 22 Stats
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Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs HIG 17:35WS
BRU vs FOR 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
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RED vs WAR 19:40SS
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
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Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs BLU 17:35FMG Stadium
FOR vs REB 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU vs LIO 14:30AMI
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STO vs CHF 00:00DHL Newlands
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG vs HUR 17:35FBS
REB vs LIO 19:40AAMI
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SHA vs CHF 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
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Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs REB 17:35WS
RED vs LIO 20:00SS
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CHF vs CHT 14:30WS
HIG vs STO 17:35FBS
WAR vs BLU 19:40AS
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs STO 18:35WS
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
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Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs CHF 18:35AMI
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HUR vs WAR 15:30WS
HIG vs BLU 18:35FBS
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF vs FOR 18:35WS
BRU vs HIG 20:40GIO Stadium
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Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG vs SHA 18:35FBS
BRU vs WAR 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
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HUR vs CRU 18:35WS
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
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Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
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Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF vs BUL 18:35Rotorua International Stadium
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Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
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Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR vs HIG 18:35McLean Park
FOR vs BRU 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
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BLU vs CRU 18:35EP
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HIG 18:35EP
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Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
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Round 20
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Hurricanes 3 3 0 0 47 13
Stormers 3 3 0 0 26 12
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Rebels 3 1 2 0 -5 6
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