The Stormers overcame a belligerent Vodacom Bulls side to win 13-0 in the final north-south derby staged at Newlands on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Bulls came into this fixture determined to prove a point. The Stormers forwards destroyed their Hurricanes counterparts in round one and were largely expected to tame the Bulls heavies in round two.
The visitors, however, had other ideas. They hammered into the Stormers at the gainline and enjoyed some early success at the scrum. The Bulls lineout – marshalled by veteran No 5 Juandre Kruger – set an excellent platform from which to launch.
A series of off-the-ball scuffles contributed to the stop-start nature of the contest. It was a fitting end to the rivalry at Newlands in that no quarter was given and no love lost. 27,301 fans attended the game – nearly 9,000 more than in round one – at the atmosphere matched the occasion.
For all their robust endeavour, the Bulls failed to register a single point. The successful implementation of their lineout and kicking game was not translated to the scoreboard.
Initially, the Stormers made the mistake of allowing the Bulls to dictate the flow of the game. When they pushed the tempo, they forced the visitors to make handling errors and concede costly penalties.
Ruhan Nel’s quick tap late in the first half sparked the Stormers to life. The hosts won a penalty from the ensuing breakdown and opted to kick it to touch.
This wasn’t surprising given that Damian Willemse was struggling with his goal-kicking. The flyhalf went on to to miss a total of three attempts in the game.
The Stormers set the lineout and then proceeded to maul the more-fancied Bulls pack. Jamie Roberts and Nel raced to the forward pod from their positions in midfield and joined the hosts’ drive. Scarra Ntubeni was eventually credited with the touchdown and the Stormers went into the break with an 8-0 lead.
The Bulls’ discipline continued to let them down in the second half. The Stormers worked their way upfield and found Seabelo Senatla in space on the left-hand side. The Blitzboks star set sail from halfway and beat the defence to score.
Dillyn Leyds, replacing regular kicker Willemse, missed the ensuing conversion attempt. Overall, the Stormers’s wayward goal-kicking cost them 10 potential points. These inaccuracies made no difference to the final outcome, though.
The Stormers leaked a series of penalties in the latter stages and were fortunate not to concede a yellow card. In the end, they did enough to keep the Bulls scoreless and secure a second straight victory built on uncompromising physicality and clinical defence.
Stormers – Tries: Scarra Ntubeni, Seabelo Senatla. Penalty: Damian Willemse.
Bulls – N/A
Stormers – 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Johan du Toit, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (c).
Subs: 16 Chad Solomon 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Cobus Wiese, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis.
Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal (c), 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Jeandre Rudolph, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Gerhard Steenkamp, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix