Scarlets beaten again after Stormers dominate first-half scoring in Cape Town
The Scarlets’ first-half failings cost them dear as they slipped to a 36-19 defeat against a weakened Stormers side in Cape Town.
With South Africa and Wales both in action this weekend, the hosts and their visitors were shorn of their Test stars, although the Scarlets still fielded an experienced XV boasting the likes of Gareth Davies, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams and Johnny McNicholl.
However, Herschel Jantjies, Leolin Zas, Ernst van Rhyn and Hacjivah Dayimani secured a first-half try bonus for the defending URC champions, with Ryan Conbeer’s touchdown the Scarlets’ only response amid multiple wasted opportunities.
Dan du Plessis added the Stormers’ fifth try shortly after half-time, before a brief Scarlets revival saw Tom Rogers go over and Conbeer add his second.
However, the damage had already been done, and Stormers fly-half Kade Wolhuter ended the match with 11 points from the tee, while Dan Jones and Rhys Patchell kicked two points apiece for the visitors.
Jones skewed a penalty as the Scarlets squandered an early opportunity to go in front, before a subsequent chance to put pressure on the Stormers’ line also went to waste.
The Stormers – without their considerable Springbok touring contingent, which includes the likes of Steven Kitshoff, Evan Roos, Manie Libbok and Damian Willemse – punished those early errors when Jantjies stretched for the line under the posts in the 15th minute.
Wolhuter was left with a simple conversion and was on target again after a loose Scarlets line-out opened the door for the Stormers to launch a rapid counter-attack which was finished off by Zas.
The Stormers had their third try after 22 minutes when Van Rhyn powered his way between two defenders to touch down.
Dwayne Peel’s men saw another golden opportunity go begging before finally getting off the mark when McNicholl’s evasive run led to Conbeer going over.
McNicholl then produced a superb try-saving tackle to deny Cornel Smit at the other end, but Dayimani soon crossed for the bonus point and Wolhuter’s kick and a subsequent penalty made it 29-7 at half-time.
Du Plessis weaved his way under the posts shortly after the restart, Wolhuter converting, but Rogers’ try eight minutes later suggested there was still some fight left in the Scarlets, with Patchell successful from the tee and Conbeer quickly adding his second.
However, the Scarlets’ fightback fell well short as they slipped to their sixth defeat in eight matches.
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