CAPE TOWN, July 8 (Reuters) - Stormers wing Cheslin Kolbe scored a hat-trick of tries for the second week in a row as they secured a 52-15 Super Rugby victory over the Sunwolves of Japan at Newlands on Saturday.
The win ensures the Stormers will be third seeds in the quarter-finals after moving to 39 points from 14 matches.
Australia’s ACT Brumbies can match them for points in the overall table in next weekend’s final round of regular season games, but the Cape Town-based side will finish above them on matches won in the campaign to date.
The home side’s other tries came from excellent teenage flyhalf Damian Willemse, wing Seabelo Senatla, centre EW Viljoen and fullback Dillyn Leyds, who scored a brace.
The Sunwolves were much-improved on their 94-7 drubbing by the Lions last weekend but could not cope with the speed and quick hands of the hosts. They managed tries through wing Teruya Goto and hooker Takeshi Hino.
The visitors made a poor start when centre Derek Carpenter was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Senatla after two minutes.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, they saw plenty of the ball in the opening stages, but were undone by a quick break from the home side.
The silky skills of Willemse released the lightning pace of Kolbe and the wing cantered in for the try.
The Stormers grabbed a second try in controversial circumstances when Sunwolves flyhalf Yu Tamura was adjudged to have touched a long kick from Kolbe over his dead ball line.
The TMO said there was no evidence Tamura had done so, but referee Quinton Immelman stuck to his guns and from the five-yard scrum, Viljoen went over for an easy score.
The Asian side did not let their heads drop, though, and after a period of pressure Goto stretched to score a try.
But it proved a brief reprieve as Leyds’ chip over the Sunwolves defence was collected by Senatla and he raced clear to give the home side a 19-10 lead at halftime.
Willemse then scored the try his performance deserved with an excellent break, before Hino kept the visitors in the game as he barged over from close range.
Leyds crossed for two tries to seal the win for the Stormers and there was still time for Kolbe to add two more late on for his hat-trick. (Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)