The DHL Stormers secured their spot in the Investec Champions Cup Round of 16 with a hard-fought 24-20 win against Stade Francais in Paris on Saturday night.
It was the Stormers ever victory in chilly conditions at Stade Jean Bouin in Paris which is just across the road from Roland Garos. The win means that the Stormers will host a second successive Round of 16 match at DHL Stadium later this season.
The result was in the balance right until the final whistle as a tense encounter saw the DHL Stormers do enough to take all five points.
Both teams scored two tries in a competitive first half. The home side were first to strike as flank Andy Timo went over for an early score.
The DHL Stormers drew level soon afterwards as scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies sniped over in the corner following a powerful maul from the forward pack.
Stade Francais went back in front with a penalty from flyhalf Joris Segonds, but the DHL Stormers responded with a second try as lock Ruben van Heerden scored from another dominant maul.
The home side however, would have the last say in the first half as centre Etien scored to give them a 15-10 advantage at half-time.
The hosts ecxtended their lead with a try from loose forward Mathieu Hirigoyen, but the DHL Stormers refused to give in and the replacements made a huge impact, with Hendre Stassen scoring a crucial try to put them right back in it.
The DHL Stormers had been dominant at scrum-time throughout and it paid off in a big way as a number of scrum penalties in the Stade Francais 22 saw the home side lose two players to yellow cards.
The visitors took advantage as Manie Libbok skipped through for the decisive try and although the Paris side threw everything at them in the final stages, the Stormers’ defence held up admirably to secure the bonus point win and second place in Pool Four, which means home advantage in the Round of 16.
For DHL Stormers:
Tries: Jantjies, Van Heerden, Stassen, Libbok
Conversions: Libbok 2
For Stade Francais:
Tries: Timo, Etien, Hirigoyen
Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Keke Morabe, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Hendre Stassen, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Stefan Ungerer, 23 Suleiman Hartzenberg.
Source: The Stormers