The Stormers made it four wins out of four in Super Rugby this year after they beat the Sunwolves 44-31 in a thrilling clash in Singapore.
Ten tries were scored in all with the Stormers crossing six times through centre EP Viljoen, flank Rynhardt Elstadt, prop Wilco Louw, scrum-half Dewaldt Duvenage, hooker Bongi Mbonambi and wing Bjorn Basson in a hard-fought success.
The Sunwolves again impressed though as an attacking force, with their try-scorers being Derek Carpenter (2), Shota Emi and Liaki Moli.
44 points were amassed in the first-half alone in an enthralling opening 40 minutes of Super Rugby action, which saw five tries recorded.
The Stormers opened the scoring with a penalty from fly-half Du Preez on three minutes, but two minutes later the home side hit back in style, with number eight Willie Britz’s nice switch with centre Carpenter seeing him stroll over untouched. The conversion made it a 7-3 cushion.
Making life more difficult for the Stormers was the sight of flanker Elstadt being yellow carded for a no-arm tackle during that passage.
Ogura made it 10-3 via a penalty following a deliberate knock-on and then came a moment to forget for Stormers wing Basson as he failed to ground the ball with a try seemingly nailed on. It was all he had to do after collecting full-back Dillyn Leyds’ kick, but he dropped it.
Fortunately for Basson five minutes later a Leyds break from his 22 led to centre Viljoen reaching out to score, which levelled the match.
But the Sunwolves soon hit back with a move started by Fukuoka on the left. They then came right where Emi finished superbly over the top of Du Preez.
They weren’t done, as then Sam Wykes bust through a gap in midfield before passing to lock partner Moli for another try, making it 24-10.
Robbie Fleck’s outfit did respond before half-time, however, as a converted try from Elstadt and Du Preez’s penalty cut the gap to four.
Those watching were hoping for more of the same in terms of the quality on show and it did not disappoint, as first Fukuoka’s break down the left led to him passing inside to Carpenter for his brace. That gave the Sunwolves a 31-20 lead, but the game was far from over.
So it proved as Louw crossed on 54 minutes to get the Stormers back to within four points and once sensed they’d continue to attack.
That they did as Duvenage took his team 34-31 in front on 62 minutes, sniping over from close range after a big carry from Du Preez.
Just when it seemed the Stormers would go on to win the match, hope came for the Sunwolves in the shape of Oli Kebble being sin-binned for a high tackle. However, Ogura missed a relatively simple penalty from in front soon after as they failed to level it up on 70 minutes.
The Stormers thought they had wrapped things up with five minutes to play, but in-form centre Viljoen was just in front of his playmaker Du Preez’s smart chip kick so his outstanding take and grounding was chalked off.
Luckily for them, Mbonambi powered over from close range soon after to seal victory for the visitors before they made it six tries when a cross-kick sat up perfectly for Basson, who rounded off the win in style in Singapore.
Tries: Carpenter 2, Emi, Moli
Cons: Ogura 4
Yellow Card: Shigeno
Tries: Viljoen, Elstadt, Louw, Duvenage, Mbonambi, Basson
Cons: Du Preez 4
Pens: Du Preez 2
Yellow Cards: Elstadt, Kebble
Sunwolves: 15 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 14 Shota Emi, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Jumpei Ogura, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Shokei Kin, 6 Ed Quirk (c), 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Heiichiro Ito, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Koki Yamamoto
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Shumei Matsuhashi, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Hayden Cripps, 23 Ryohei Yamanaka
Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Siya Kolisi (c), 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 JD Shickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Dan du Plessis
Date: Saturday, March 25
Venue: National Stadium, Singapore
Referee: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
Assistant Referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Aki Aso (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)