Robert du Preez scored 23 points in the Stormers’ 33-9 win against the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday, reports JON CARDINELLI.
This north-south derby was anything but a classic. The quality of the handling was disappointing. The tactical kicking from both teams was aimless and often poorly executed.
For much of the first half, the game drifted with neither side gaining the upper hand. When referee Craig Joubert blew the half-time whistle, the 40,000-odd fans at Newlands appeared to sigh in relief.
The Stormers went into the break with a 9-6 lead thanks to the accurate goal-kicking of Du Preez. The Bulls defenders did well to hassle the Stormers halfbacks, and Du Preez in particular battled to assert himself in general play. In front of goal, however, he was flawless.
The Stormers scrum improved as the game progressed. The hosts contested well at the lineout, and made some important steals.
There was a moment early in the second half when the Stormers were defending 5m out from their own line. Eben Etzebeth timed his jump to perfection, and beat the Bulls to the throw. From there, the hosts cleared their lines.
The Bulls were less accurate in the second stanza. They battled to live with the Stormers at the breakdown, and often transgressed.
The hosts moved smartly up-field, and when Du Preez spotted an opportunity to take the gap in the 52nd minute, he did so wholeheartedly. His ensuing conversion saw the Stormers moving into a 10-point lead.
The Bulls attempted to hit back immediately. However, the Stormers held their nerve to win yet another turnover in their own 22. Not for the first time in the contest, the Bulls had ventured into Stormers territory and come away empty-handed.
In the 66th minute, Etzebeth showed impressive power to score and put the result beyond doubt. Replacement hooker Scarra Ntubeni scored the hosts’ third try following a successful lineout maul.
The latter score ensured that the Stormers finished the match with a bonus point. The Stormers scored three tries on the day, and prevented the Bulls from scoring a single one.
Stormers – Tries: Robert du Preez, Eben Etzebeth, Scarra Ntubeni. Conversions: Du Preez (3). Penalties: Du Preez (4).
Bulls – Penalties: Francois Brummer (3).
Stormers – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (c), 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Subs: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (c), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Leolin Zas.
Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Subs: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Burger Odendaal.
Photo: Thinus Maritz/Gallo Images