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Premiership Rugby

Stormers start UK tour with a win

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Stormers coach Gert Smal would have been a worried man with his side's unconvincing victory of a second-string Sharks outfit, but he does have a few issues to work on during the week before Friday night's meeting with the Sharks of South Africa.

However, Smal was happy that fit-again tighthead prop Cobus Visagie played almost the entire match, along with bald-headed hooker Pieter Dixon. Visagie and Dixon have just come off long lay-offs after picking up serious ankle injuries in the 2002 season.

"The game was tough and physical as we expected," said Smal afterwards. "It was the first time we tried many combinations and whilst there is a lot of room for improvement and the obvious pre-season rustiness, I believe that the game will benefit us enormously in terms of our preparation.

"It was also encouraging that Cobus [Visagie] and Pieter [Dixon] came through the game. Both are coming off serious injuries and are however still lacking match fitness. Disappointing was the number of penalties we conceded and obviously the two yellow cards which will be addressed."

Skipper Corné Krige added: "It was a tough game with many positives. It was also great to play against our old team-mate Charl Marais and to see Braam van Straaten at the game. We also had some great support in the crowd from many South Africans, some of whom had travelled from far to watch us play."

Boland centre Piet van Zyl celebrated his first match for the 'Men in Black' with a try in the first quarter (after 17 minutes to be exact), before Eddie Andrews, a front row reserve, put the result in the Stormers' favour with a late five-pointer.

Flyhalf Gaffie du Toit, who joined Western Province and the Stormers this season, converted Andrews' try, before adding a late penalty to put the visitors ahead by more than one score.

Sharks flyhalf Jos Baxendell scored a first-half try, which was converted by scrumhalf Richard Wigglesworth, leaving the half-time score at 7-5 in the home team's favour.

Baxendell's try came with Stormers prop Daan Human in the sin bin, while new second row signing Rob Linde also had a 10-minute stint in the sin bin during the first half.

The scorers:

For the Sharks:Try: BaxendellCon: Wigglesworth

For the Stormers:Tries: Van Zyl, AndrewsCon: Du ToitPen: Du Toit


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