JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 25 – Western Stormers outscored Otago Highlanders by four tries to three as they triumphed 34-22 in Cape Town Saturday to keep alive hopes of making the Super Rugby play-offs.
The victory at Newlands stadium after leading 17-3 at half-time lifted the hosts five places to eighth, the last position that secures a place in the knockout phase.
Defeat completed a point-less two-match tour of South Africa for the New Zealanders and they slipped one place to 10th with just two regular season fixtures remaining.
The Stormers visit the Lions next weekend, then host the Japanese Sunwolves and the Coastal Sharks while the Highlanders play the Northern Bulls and the NSW Waratahs at home.
TV analyst and former South Africa coach Nick Mallett praised both teams, saying: “It was an enjoyable match of running rugby in which (Stormers winger) Dillyn Leyds was outstanding.”
Out-of-favour Springbok Leyds did not score, but his elusive running caused endless problems for the Highlanders.
While seven tries kept the crowd entertained, the match lacked the intensity of the drawn thriller between the Stormers and league leaders Canterbury Crusaders last weekend.
When winger Patelesio Tomkinson scored and fly-half Marty Banks converted to pull the Dunedin outfit within seven points of the Stormers after 53 minutes, a close finish seemed possible.
But the Stormers responded within two minutes as Leyds set up giant lock Cobus Wiese to score unchallenged for a 24-10 lead and the Stormers were not seriously challenged thereafter.
Scrum-half Herschel Jantjies, skipper and flanker Siya Kolisi, Wiese and substitute back Jean-Luc du Plessis scored a try each for the Cape Town side.
Fly-half Josh Stander kicked three conversions and a penalty and his replacement, Du Plessis, a penalty and a conversion.
Tomkinson, fellow winger Waisake Naholo, and substitute prop Siate Tokolahi scored tries for the Highlanders, Banks kicked a conversion and a penalty and Dan Hollinshead a conversion.
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