CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - The Stormers kept up their unbeaten home record in this year’s Super Rugby competition with a 34-18 win over the Melbourne Rebels at Newlands on Friday to lift themselves off the bottom of the South African conference.
A trio of Springboks scored for the home side as JJ Engelbrecht crossed twice and Damian de Allende and Dillyn Leyds also went over with Sefa Naivalu scoring two tries for the Australians.
The Stormers threatened a runaway score as they dominated early, but they allowed the Rebels back into the contest after halftime before a last-minute try ensured a comfortable winning margin.
De Allende powered his way through several tackles to score the first after 16 minutes and Engelbrecht went over for the second in the 33rd minute after the Stormers had scrummed the Rebels off the ball to turn over possession and set up a long pass out to the wing.
The home side’s 17-6 halftime lead was extended just minutes after the interval as Leyds showed his pace by sprinting onto a speculative grubber to touch down.
Yet a comfortable 24-6 advantage was threatened as the Rebels gained the upper hand midway through the second half with Naivalu going over on the right wing.
Both his tries came from long passes that stretched the home defence.
De Allende’s break set up Engelbrecht for his second try of the match just before the final whistle to make sure of the victory.
The Stormers, who have lost all six away games this year, play four of their last six matches at Newlands and will still have hopes of advancing to the playoffs.
The Rebels return to Australia having lost both games on a short South African stop, having been beaten by the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.
They have four wins and five defeats from their nine games in this year’s competition but are still well placed to reach the playoffs.
Editing by Toby Davis