The St.George Queensland Reds have claimed their third win of the 2019 Vodafone Super Rugby season with a 24-12 win over the Stormers at Suncorp Stadium.
After a scoreless first half, the Reds ran in three-tries-to-two in the second forty, with Samu Kerevi, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Tate McDermott all crossing for the home side.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “It’s really important that win heading over to Africa now.
“There was a lot of positive rugby out there tonight. It was nil-all at half-time so the guys had to persevere. It felt like it was there, we just had to keep persisting and keeping working to our plan,” said Thorn.
Penalties and handling errors cruelled any attacking momentum for either side in the opening half, as the two teams headed to the sheds locked at nil-all at the break.
The stalemate marked the first Super Rugby game in six years in which neither side scored in the opening half, with the Sharks and Stormers the last to do so in Durban back in 2013.
Despite their handling struggles, the Stormers were denied twice by the TMO in the opening 20 minutes of play, as desperate defensive efforts from Jack Hardy and Hamish Stewart ensured the visitors weren’t able to open the scoring.
A 39th minute yellow card to Stormers captain Siya Kolisi gave Queensland a one-man advantage for the early stages of the second half and the hosts quickly capitalised with a two-try surge.
Kerevi was first to score after he put Sefa Naivalu into space before the Wallabies winger found his skipper on the inside to score under the posts. Bryce Hegarty converted to give Queensland a 7-nil lead in the 41st minute.
With Kolisi still on the sideline, Queensland quickly added their second try five minutes later through Brandon Paenga-Amosa, who continued his recent try-scoring form when he charged his way over to score on the back of a Hegarty linebreak from the halfway line. Hegarty slotted his second conversion to stretch the Reds lead to 14-nil.
The Stormers replied with their first five-pointer seconds into their captain’s return to the field, with Kobus Van Dyk the try scorer in the 50th minute. Jean-Luc du Plessis added the extras to lessen the visitors’ deficit to a converted try with half an hour of play remaining.
Queensland extended their lead again in the 66th minute when McDermott dove his way over the line to score with a crafty quick tap and go from seven-metres out. Hegarty continued his perfect form with the boot to make the score 21-7.
A second Stormers to try Damian de Allande put the South Africans back in the game in the 74th minute, before SP Marais missed the conversion to ensure Queensland retained a nine-point lead.
Hegarty sealed it for Queensland with a penalty goal in the 78th minute to secure a 24-12 win.
The Queensland Reds will travel to South Africa for their next two Super Rugby fixtures, where they play the Bulls and Sharks respectively, before hosting the Sunwolves at Suncorp Stadium on May 3. Tickets available via http://bit.ly/2019RedsTickets
St.George Queensland Reds 24 (Tries: Kerevi, Paenga-Amosa, McDermott, Conversions: Hegarty 3, Penalties: Hegarty 1) def Stormers 12 (Van Dyk, de Allande, Conversions: du Plessis) at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on April 5 2019.