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Stormers dominate playoff-chasing Cheetahs

June 29, 2013

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — The Stormers set back the Cheetahs’ playoff hopes by winning 28-3 in their one-sided South African Super Rugby derby on Saturday.

Flankers Deon Fourie and Siya Kolisi scored tries in each half and Bryan Habana’s 71st-minute score made certain there was no way back for the clumsy Cheetahs, who missed out on an important opportunity.

The Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs could register onlyt a Riaan Smit penalty — the game’s first points — in a surprisingly flat performance on Super Rugby’s return. They appeared to be the team to have lost the most momentum after the monthlong break for internationals, showing none of the attacking flair and thrust that’s led them to their best Super Rugby season so far and the brink of the playoffs.

The Cheetahs remain sixth and in the final playoff place with two rounds of games remaining, but with next weekend’s home meeting with the eighth-placed Blues of New Zealand now a season-defining matchup for both.

“Very disappointing. Definitely the shocker of the year for us,” Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss said of Saturday’s slump in Cape Town. “Write this one off and look forward to the Blues game.”

Stand-in captain Fourie rumbled over in a maul in the 37th to spark the Stormers, who have struggled through this year after finishing top of the regular-season standings in 2012.

Kolisi’s angled run opened a big hole for the newly capped Springbok to range through in the 66th for his try.

Fellow Springbok Habana slid in on the left wing for a late score and the wing’s 55th Super Rugby try to go with his 50 test tries.

The Stormers moved up to 10th with seven wins and seven losses.

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Scores: 28 (Deon Fourie, Siya Kolisi, Bryan Habana tries; Joe Pietersen 2 conversions, 3 penalties), Cheetahs 3 (Riaan Smit penalty). HT: 10-3.

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