The defending champions lost 26-24 to Munster last week which was their first defeat on home soil in nearly two years. Determined to make amends for that result – and to atone for last season’s loss to Benetton in Treviso – they set out to deliver a more convincing performance.

Benetton certainly tested the hosts in the early stages. Angelo Davids soared to collect a well-directed Manie Libbok cross-kick in the 14th minute, and dotted down to give the DHL Stormers a 5-3 lead. Benetton regained the advantage four minutes later, when flanker Alessandro Izekor finished a long-range surge and Tomas Albernoz added the extras.

The hosts were reduced to 14 men thereafter, when DHL Stormers No 8 Evan Roos received a yellow card for shoving an opponent’s head into the turf. Fortunately for the hosts, Benetton did not capitalise on their scoring chances while Roos was off the field.

The DHL Stormers delivered a telling blow on the stroke of half-time, when Engelbrecht crashed over the line. After missing his first attempt at goal, Libbok made no mistake with his second, and the hosts went to the break with a two-point lead.

Willie Engelbrecht goes over for one of his two tries on Friday night.

Willie Engelbrecht goes over for one of his two tries on Friday night.

Engelbrecht grabbed a second try two minutes after half-time. The forwards showed fantastic skills in the build-up, with Roos unleashing Marvin Orie for a linebreak. Engelbrecht had work to do when he eventually received the ball, but showed good power to break a tackle and score.

From there, the DHL Stormers continued to build through their forwards. A dominant maul set up the bonus-point try for JJ Kotze in the 52nd minute. Clayton Blommetjies and Marcel Theunnisen added late tries to take the game away from Benetton.

Seabelo Senatla was shown a yellow card after colliding with Matteo Minozzi in the air in the 68th minute. The hosts conceded a third yellow – this time for Hacjivah Dayimani collapsing a maul right on his own tryline – late in the game. In the end, however, they emerged with a comfortable victory.

The DHL Stormers will play no part in the Heineken Champions Cup semi-finals staged in Europe next week. The upside is that they will have two weeks to prepare for a Vodacom United Rugby Championship quarter-final that will be staged at DHL Stadium in Cape Town.


DHL Stormers 38 (12) - Tries: Angelo Davids, Willie Engelbrecht (2), JJ Kotze, Clayton Blommetjies, Marcel Theunissen. Conversions: Manie Libbok (4).

Benetton 22 (10) - Tries: Alessandro Izekor, Manuel Zuliani, Penalty try. Conversion: Tomas Alboronz. Penalty goal: Alboronz.