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Springbok Jantjies stars as Stormers sweep Hurricanes aside

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Cape Town (AFP)

Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok Herschel Jantjies scored a try and created two others as the Western Stormers crushed the Wellington Hurricanes 27-0 Saturday in Super Rugby.

The first round match at Newlands in Cape Town produced the rare sight of a South African side outplaying New Zealand opponents, and scrum-half Jantjies starred.

His cross kick enabled winger Sergeal Petersen to score in the corner after eight minutes. Prop Steven Kitshoff barged over 11 minutes later after a pass from Jantjies.

Midway through the first half, Jantjies grasped a loose ball and sprinted away for a try. Damian Willemse converted for a 19-0 half-time advantage.

On 77 minutes Willemse pounced again, intercepting a pass from Hurricanes replacement scrum-half Jamie Booth and racing from his own half and score in the corner on 77 minutes to seal a bonus-point win.

The Stormers fly-half also kicked two conversions and a penalty after missing his first two kicks at goal.

It was the widest winning margin in round one ahead of the final fixture between the Argentine Jaguares and the South African Golden Lions in Buenos Aires later Saturday.

The Stormers top the combined standings on points difference from Canterbury Crusaders of New Zealand. The defending champions beat the Australian NSW Waratahs by 18 points.

- Encouraging start -

Although the Stormers lost centre Damian de Allende to Munster and lock Eben Etzebeth to Toulon after the World Cup, they started the match with seven of South Africa's World Cup winning squad.

These included Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and hooker Bongi Mbonambi, both of whom were then forced off injured.

The big win was an encouraging start for new coach John Dobson, who took charge after the contract of Robbie Fleck was not renewed following several disappointing campaigns.

A cause for concern, though, will be the line-outs, with several lost on the Stormers' own throw. The Cape Town side are sure to face much stronger opposition than the Hurricanes.

The Wellington outfit, who lost to the Crusaders in the 2019 semi-finals, also had a new coach with Jason Holland replacing John Plumtree, who is now part of the All Blacks set-up.

They have lost star playmaker Beauden Barrett and hooker Dane Coles to fellow New Zealand outfit the Auckland Blues and loose forward Ardie Savea is sidelined by a knee injury.

The Hurricanes contributed to their defeat through ill discipline with centre Billy Proctor and replacement forward Vaea Fifita yellow carded during the second half.

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