Edinburgh’s hopes of a home URC play-off suffered a blow as the tourists were hammered 43-21 by a rampant Stormers in Cape Town.  

The South African side maintained their unbeaten home record this season with a bonus point win that was all-but wrapped up by half-time thanks to a brace apiece from Suleiman Hartzenberg and Leolin Zas. When Hartzenberg completed his hat-trick early in the second half, the game was gone from Edinburgh’s grasp and two scores from Evan Roos added thoroughly deserved gloss to the scoreline.   

Jake Henry marked his professional debut with a first-half try for Sean Everitt’s side, while Bill Mata also crossed but it was otherwise not the way they would have wanted to mark WP Nel’s 200th appearance for the club.  

A late try from Paddy Harrison gave Edinburgh a shot of rescuing a four-try bonus point, but it was only momentary respite for the visitors who were soundly beaten and left empty handed.  

On a hugely frustrating afternoon for Edinburgh, here are five things we learned from DHL Stadium.  

Late changes cause disruption  

About an hour before kick-off, Edinburgh confirmed Emiliano Boffelli would miss the game with back spasms. That not only meant the visitors would be without their ever-reliable Argentina fullback, but it forced Sean Everitt into a reshuffle. Wes Goosen shifted from the wing to take the 15 jersey, with Chris Dean – more at home in the midfield – coming into the side as an auxiliary winger.  

While individually there were no glaring errors, shifting three players about after one injury is not ideal and it did seem to cause Edinburgh problems. Boffelli is one of the world’s best in the air and the visitors were caught out a few times defensively, while their own kicking game didn’t put Stormers under the pressure they would have desired pre-match.  

Stormers cause midfield mayhem 

Edinburgh’s midfield defence was their real Achillies heel in Cape Town as Dan du Plessis and Wandisile Simelane caused the visitors so many problems. It was a tough day for Matt Currie and Mark Bennett, who only lasted half an hour after picking up a knock, and was replaced by James Lang. The Stormers pair cut some lovely lines and Edinburgh had virtually no answer as they scythed through seemingly at will.  

Saved by scramble defence  

The visitors found themselves under pressure for much of the game, and only remained in the contest at the break after twice performing heroics on their own line after Stormers had cut through in the opening half hour.

On both occasions, the aforementioned Simelane was the man to make the break, but Edinburgh regrouped well and forced the South African side into an error. Even when Simelane thought he had scored, a terrific tackle from Dean dislodged the ball and denied the ex-Bulls man.

They were back at it early in the second half, holding up a Stormers maul as it crashed over the line to deny the home side a fifth try that would have all-but put the game out of sight.  

Without it, Edinburgh could have been on the end of an absolute thrashing.

Breakdown costly 

Although on the back foot, Edinburgh needed to find a way to slow down the Stormers ball. When the home side attacked, they had the ball seemingly on a plate for scrum-half Paul de Wet. He had an armchair ride behind the likes of Frans Malherbe, the supreme Springboks tighthead, and returning captain Salmaan Moerat.  

Of equal frustration to Sean Everitt and his coaching team will be Edinburgh’s inaccuracy on their own ball. Twice in the second half the visitors punctured the visitors’ 22 but they coughed up possession either through poor clear-outs or losing the ball in contact. On the second occasion, they were playing with an advantage and scored through Paddy Harrison to give them a shot at a four-try bonus point, but to stress the best teams, they’ll need to string together more dynamic phases and key to that will be securing their own ball.  

Magnificent Manie Libbok  

A terrific performance from the Springbok. A cross-field kick from the fly-half – just like the one that caught out Scotland in the Rugby World Cup – nearly opened the visitors up early on. When the Stormers fly-half repeated the feat on 10 minutes, a slip from Wes Goosen meant it was rewarded with the game’s first try for Hartzenberg. Linked so well with Damian Willemse, especially when the game broke up.  

Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas (Loader 60), 10 Manie Libbok (Matthee 38-40; 71) 9 Paul de Wet (Jantjies 60); 1 Brok Harris (Gqoboka 51) (Harris 62), 2 Andre-Hugo Venter (Dweba 60), 3 Frans Malherbe (Fouche 60), 4 Salmaan Moerat (c) (Evans 65), 5 Ruben van Heerden, 6 Nama Xaba (Dayimani 56), 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 8 Evan Roos 

Tries: Hartzenberg (10, 19, 48); Zas (35, 40); Roos (59, 70) 

Conversions: Libbok (11, 71), Mathee (40) 

Edinburgh: 15 Wes Goosen, 14 Jake Henry, 13 Mark Bennett (Lang 32) (Scott 58), 12 Matt Currie, 11 Chris Dean, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Ben Vellacott (c) (Shiel 68); 1 Boan Venter (de Bruin 60), 2 Dave Cherry (Harrison 60), 3 WP Nel (Sebastian 60), 4 Jamie Hodgson (Sykes 61), 5 Sam Skinner, 6 Ben Muncaster (Todd 68), 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Viliame Mata 

Tries: Henry (15), Mata (38), Harrison (66) 

Conversions: Healy (15, 39, 67) 

Yellow card: de Bruin (79)