URC result: Cardiff end Stormers unbeaten run in Arms Park thriller | The Citizen





The Stormers slipped to an agonising 30-24 (halftime 14-14) defeat against Cardiff in their United Rugby Championship clash at Arms Park in Wales on Saturday night.

It was an upset result as the Stormers were expected to walk away with a full house of points, but Cardiff flyhalf Rhys Priestland put in a majestic performance to lead his side to a famous win, that ended the visitors 15-game unbeaten run in the competition.

Priestland slotted six penalties, a conversion and assisted both his teams tries with cross kicks, for a vintage performance that was in the end too much for the Stormers.

At the start of the match the Stormers enjoyed some good running rugby, but Cardiff defended well to keep the visitors out in the early stages.

A seven minute blitz from the hosts then saw them race into an 11-0 lead, with Priestland superbly pulling the strings.

Priestland first slotted two penalties, and then sent a superb kick from his own half into the Stormers 22m, where the ball bounced up perfectly for wing Theo Cabango, chasing hard, to catch and go over in the corner for an unconverted score.

The Stormers then hit back four minutes later as from a penalty they set up a 5m lineout, got the maul rolling and powered over the line, with flank Nama Xaba dotting down and flyhalf Manie Libbok converting to make it 11-7.

The visitors were slowly taking charge and a delicate cross kick from Libbok in the Cardiff half, allowed wing Leolin Zas to race onto the ball, catch it on the bounce and spring away to score a converted try and a 14-11 lead after 28 minutes.

Stormers eighthman Hacjivah Dayimani then received a yellow card in the 34th minute due to an accidental clash of heads in a tackle, giving Priestland a shot at goal which he converted to draw the scores level, as the teams then went into halftime level pegging.

Cardiff then got the second half off to a cracking start, as Priestland again the architect, sending a pinpoint cross kick into the arms of wing Jason Harries to go over for a try, with the conversion making it 21-14 after 44 minutes.

The Stormers maul had been cooking all night and it then took centre stage as they rumbled over for a second try to Xaba in the 50th minute, with Libbok missing the extras.

A Priestland penalty in the 53rd minute then stretched their lead to five points, but the Stormers maul kept rumbling as first Dayimani was held up after breaking off the back, before replacement flank Junior Pokomela dotted down in the 61st minute for an unconverted score to make it 24-all.

Priestland then deservedly had the final say in the match, slotting two more penalties, one in the 69th minute and another on the full time hooter to seal the impressive win for the home side.

Scorers

Cardiff: Tries – Theo Cabango, Jason Harries; Conversion – Rhys Priestland; Penalties – Priestland (6)

Stormers: Tries – Nama Xaba (2), Leolin Zas, Junior Pokomela; Conversions – Manie Libbok (2)



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