The Stormers outscored Benetton three tries to two but missed conversions and a number of mistakes consigned them to a disappointing loss.
The travel woes of South African teams in the United Rugby Championship (URC) continued as the Stormers stumbled to a 20-17 defeat against Benetton in their clash at the Stadio Monigo in Treviso, Italy on Saturday evening.
It is the Stormers second loss on the road, after they were beaten by Glasgow Warriors last weekend, and continues their dreadful form when playing outside of SA.
The Stormers outscored Benetton three tries to two but missed conversions, coupled with a number of mistakes consigned them to a disappointing loss.
It was a scrappy start to the match in cold and wet conditions, leading to a scoreless opening quarter as both teams tried to feel each other out.
The hosts got the ball rolling in the 23rd minute as on attack in the Stormers 22m flyhalf Tomas Albornoz put through a perfect grubber for inside centre Marco Zanon to chase and dot down for a converted score and 7-0 lead.
A thrilling final 10 minutes of the half then followed as the Stormers battled back through unconverted tries to fullback Warrick Gelant, after and up and under from flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis, and a mauled try to hooker Scarra Ntubeni.
Both those scores came either side of a penalty to Albornoz which had the sides level after 35 minutes, but a smart drop goal with a minute to go from fullback Rhyno Smith gave the hosts a tight 13-10 lead at the halftime break.
The second half proved to be another tight affair of relatively few chances, as the Stormers struck first with right wing Courtnall Skosan flying into the corner for a 46th minute try, and Du Plessis finally nailing a conversion for a 17-13 lead.
However nine minutes later Benetton struck back as replacement loose forward Alessandro Izekor powered over and replacement flyhalf Jacob Umaga added the extras to edge them back ahead.
In the 70th minute the Stormers had a great chance to draw the scores level after receiving a penalty in front on the hosts 22m, but they chose to kick to the corner and the maul didn’t work out as Benetton managed to clear.
The Stormers were made to rue that decision as Benetton weathered the storm and managed to spend the closing moments of the match deep in the visitors territory to keep their unbeaten start to the season intact.
Benetton: Tries – Marco Zanon, Alessandro Izekor; Conversions – Tomas Albornoz, Jacob Umaga; Penalty – Albornoz; Drop Goal – Rhyno Smith
Stormers: Tries – Warrick Gelant, Scarra Ntubeni, Courtnall Skosan; Conversion – Jean-Luc du Plessis