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Stormers hammer Rebels to stay top in South Africa

The Stormers handed the Melbourne Rebels a five-try 40-3 hammering on Friday to cement their position at...

New Super Rugby logo. Picture: SANZAR

The Stormers handed the Melbourne Rebels a five-try 40-3 hammering on Friday to cement their position at the top of Super rugby's South African conference and round out their Australasian tour in style.

Springboks centre Jaque Fourie scored the pick of the tries for last year's runners-up with Bryan Habana, Nick Koster, Jean de Villiers and stand-in flyhalf Kurt Coleman, who scored 18 points in only his second start for the Stormers, also crossing.

The Stormers return to Cape Town for next week's rerun of the 2010 final against the Bulls having won three of their four matches in New Zealand and Australia and moved 10 points clear of their nearest South African rivals, the Sharks, who play on Saturday.

"I think we've been creating quite a few chances but just not using them," Stormers captain Schalk Burger said. "We still left a few out there but it was nice to get a few tries on the board tonight.

"We base ourself around our defence and it's something that really gets the team going, we pride ourselves on it and it was another fabulous performance."

The Rebels were always likely to struggle against the meanest defence in Super rugby -- just 13 tries conceded in 14 games -- and remain rooted to the bottom of the standings after a seventh successive defeat.

Stormers winger Habana scored the only try of the first half, scorching through a big gap in the Rebels defence after an attacking scrum to score his second try of the season after 16 minutes.

Coleman's first Super rugby try came 13 minutes after the break with the Stormers applying unrelenting pressure on the home defence and Fourie rounded out a sweeping 70 metre move to add the third four minutes later.

Springboks centre De Villiers made a break well inside the Stormers half before feeding winger Gio Aplon who in turn released Fourie to sprint unopposed and touch down in the corner.

It took another 20 minutes for the Stormers to secure the bonus point through replacement back rower Nick Koster and there was still time for the fifth when De Villiers finished off another sweeping move fired by a brilliant break from hooker Deon Fourie.

For Super rugby newcomers the Rebels, the absence of specialist flyhalf in the continued exclusion of Danny Cipriani for disciplinary reasons again cost them in attack.

"They're extremely good at scavenging off your mistakes and we made too many of those tonight," said Rebels skipper Stirling Mortlock.

Timeline

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