The Stormers and Waratahs played out a pulsating 13-13 draw in a 12th-round Super 14 match in Cape Town on Saturday.
The visitors led 6-5 at the break in pouring rain, which negated any chance of this being an exciting, try-scoring feast.
And both captains felt the two points earned for the draw could be costly in their challenge for semifinal berths.
”It was really difficult in the conditions; we were up against and it was not a good result for us,” lamented Stormers captain Jean de Villiers. ”It feels like a loss.”
Waratahs skipper Phil Waugh was just as distraught. ”We had our chances to win it, so it was disappointing we couldn’t pull it off,” he said. ”All the Stormers’ points came because of mistakes made by us.”
Both teams, though, are still in the running to make the play-offs, with just one round of matches to play. The Waratahs are third on the southern hemisphere inter-provincial competition points table with 39 points, while the Stormers are fourth with 37 points.
The inclement weather conditions made handling extremely difficult and as such there were precious few clear-cut try-scoring chances in the first half with the home side scoring the only five-pointer in the period.
Big Fijian import Sireli Naqelevuki used the wet field to perfection, sliding over the line in the left corner after being set free with a well-timed pass by De Villiers.
The Stormers didn’t get close to scoring any further points, while the Waratahs’ points came via the boot of flyhalf Kurtley Beale, who knocked over two penalties.
While the men from Sydney would have been pleased with their one-point advantage at the interval, they gave up their lead just 10 seconds after the restart.
Waratahs wing Lachlan Turner’s attempted clearance from the kick-off was charged down by his opposite number, Wylie Human, who collected the bouncing ball and dived over for the simplest of tries.
Flyhalf Peter Grant again missed the conversion, but the Stormers were four points in front and it soon became seven after replacement No 10 Tony Brown converted a penalty.
Matters, though, were all level with 10 minutes to play after a period of sustained pressure by the visitors, and some slick handling by the backs in the pouring rain, resulted in a try in the left corner by Waratahs fullback Lote Tuqiri. Beale’s touchline conversion made it 13-all.
While both sides tried furiously at the end to score the match-winning points — to collect all four log points — the defences stood firm, with both taking home two points each.
The Stormers face the Lions in their final match at Ellis Park next weekend, while the Waratahs are up against the Reds in Brisbane. — AFP