Stormers beat Cheetahs 40-34

THE Stormers beat the Cheetahs 34-40 in a pulsating 10-try thriller at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein and extend their lead at the top of the Africa 1 Conference.

Cheslin Kolbe collected a treble and kicked four conversions for a match haul of 23 points

The Cape side stormed back after letting the Cheetahs come back from 10-26 and 20-33 to lead by one point at 34-33 with eight minutes remaining after Raymond Rhule’s 60th-minute try.

However, Sikhumbuzo Notshe’s late try saw the visitors home, the substitute scoring his team’s sixth try.

The game ended with Henco Venter and Rynhardt Elstadt were red carded for an elbow and punch, respectively. Elstadt managed to get a yellow card at the end of the first-half, claiming an unusual card double.

Both teams had nothing to play for as the Stormers have already qualified for the playoffs and the Cheetahs were out of the running.

Kolbe and Daniel Hugo scored tries inside eight minutes to make it 7-7. Neil Marais kicked a penalty to give his team a 10-7 lead. Damian Willemse’s scored on 20 minutes. The young standoff played a one-two with Elstadt before scoring under the posts to make it 10-14.

Neil Marais was then yellow carded; while he was off, the Stormers scored twice through Kolbe and Seabelo Senatla, giving Robbie Fleck’s team a 14-point lead.

With minutes remaining in the first period, Elstadt was sin-binned. The Cheetahs drove the visitors over their try-line to make it a four-point ball game at the break.

An early second-half penalty by Neil Marais reduced the deficit to one point, however, Kolbe grabbed his hat-trick soon after. The outside back converted his try to stretch the lead to 21-33.

Pieter-Steph du Toit was yellow carded and two minutes’ later, Clinton Swart barged over two defenders to score near the posts. Neil Marais added the conversion.

With 20 minutes to play, Francois Venter made the break, running 60 metres before cutting inside a defender, and popping to the Rhule to score. Neil Marais’ fourth conversion gave his team a 34-33 lead.

Notshe’s late score and Kolbe’s fourth conversion gave the Stormers a deserved win before the game descended into madness with the two red cards.

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