CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Wing Raymond Rhule scored a try on his debut as South Africa’s Stormers secured a scrappy 28-20 victory over the Jaguares from Argentina in the opening game of the Super Rugby season at Newlands on Saturday.
The win came in front of a modest crowd and in a game where both sides made numerous errors with the ball in hand, at the set-piece and in the ruck.
The Stormers also scored tries through centre Damian de Allende and loose-forward Siya Kolisi, while teenage flyhalf Damian Willemse kicked three penalties and two conversions.
The Jaguares came alive in the final 20 minutes having trailed 22-6 just after halftime and earned their points through a penalty try and a score from wing Emiliano Boffelli.
Both coaches will have plenty to say in the post-game video session. The play was at times desperately poor and showed the rustiness of the teams with timid tackling adding to their woes.
Having turned down three kickable penalties, the Stormers led when De Allende danced through the Jaguares defence from 15-yards out to score the first try.
The Argentine side were stretching the patience of referee Jaco Peyper with some cynical play and were punished when fullback Joaquin Tuculet received a yellow card for slowing the ball down at a ruck inside his own 22.
Shortly afterwards Stormers’ captain Kolisi powered through four defenders to score next to the posts, but in another sign of some early season lethargy, Willemse saw his conversion from in front of the posts charged down, a rarity in the professional game.
Ghana-born Springbok Rhule showed great pace and awareness when he added a third try just a minute into the second half, collecting the ball 60-yards from the Jaguares tryline and holding off one defender before skipping past a second with a dummy and sprinting into the corner.
The poor defending continued when Boffelli beat three tackles from the home side to bring the Jaguares back into the contest.
After Willemse had added a penalty, the visitors dominated possession for the next 15 minutes and were awarded a penalty-try as their shove against a seven-man Stormers pack, following a yellow card for Ramone Samuels, was illegally stopped.
They camped in the Stormers 22 after that, but despite the numerical advantage, could not force their way over for another score that could have seen them take the lead.
And Willemse’s late penalty on the hooter ensured the visitors would leave without a losing bonus-point.
Reporting By Nick Said; editing by Clare Lovell