The Stormers have secured the first win of their Australasian tour, defeating the Rebels 41-24 at AAMI Park.
Four second half tries to the men from Cape Town proved decisive, with the Stormers centre Ruhan Nel enjoying a brace in a win characterised by their brutal defence.The first scoring opportunity came against the run of play when Isi Naisarani created a cheeky place and go which allowed the Rebels to breach the Stormers ruck defence.
When the supporting Genia toed ahead, the Stormers backfield looked vulnerable, but the bouncing ball found Dillyn Leyds and the Stormers wing launched an evasive counter-attack from halfway to open the scoring.
The Rebels spurned an easy three points in the eighteenth minute in favour of a five-metre lineout, but to no avail, changing tact five minutes later when offered a penalty in an identical position.
On this occasion, Cooper slotted the penalty goal but saw the blow softened when the Stormers generated their own penalty from a botched Rebels exit during the ensuing restart.
A brutal Stormers defensive wall made opportunities for the hosts few and far between, but when Cooper found an unmarked Semisi Tupou with a cross field kick over the tryline, the Blue wall looked to have been breached except for an uncharacteristic fumble by the nineteen-year-old.
It would take one minute into the second half for the Rebels to cross the chalk; Reece Hodge backing up his hat-trick from last week with an opportunistic effort. When Jean-Luc Du Plessis defused a Will Genia box kick, the Stormers flyhalf looked to find support with a high hanging in field pass in search of his fullback.
Instead it found the wrong number fifteen with Hodge gladly accepted the intercept and galloped twenty metres for the score.When he could get his hands on the ball, Stormers fullback Damian Willemse showed why he is considered such a prodigious talent.
Slicing through the Rebels midfield on halfway, Willemse located replacement Jaunro Augustus on the left edge for a try.
The Rebels barely had time to catch their breath when Leyds found a hole at the back of the Rebels lineout and linked with Damian De Allende for a try that took the lead out to fourteen points for the visitors.
His centre partner Ruhan Nel got in on the act moments later when a mishandling in the backfield by the Rebels allowed the number thirteen to gather possession on the hosts twenty-two and go in untouched.
The news could have been worse when the men from Cape Town looked to have added another try through Sergal Peterson, only for the play to be called back when a foot appeared to cross the sideline in the build-up.
Instead, Will Genia was enjoying the adulation of his teammates when he snuck around the back of a Rebels lineout untouched in the sixty-eight minute to score a try.
In the shadows of full time Campbell Magnay crossed for his first try in navy when Marika Koroibete found space on the left edge and linked with Cooper and finally Magnay.
Any chance of a fight back was snuffed out when Ruhan Nel grabbed his double, snatching a misplaced Hodge offload on halfway and racing away for the Stormers final try.
Tries: Hodge, Genia, Magnay
Conversions: Cooper (3)
Tries: Leyds, Augustus, De Allende, Nel (2)
Conversions: Du Plessis (2) Stander (3)
Penalties: Du Plessis, Stander