Stormers blank Bulls

The Stormers’ dominance at the tackle went a long way towards securing a 16-0 victory over the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday, reports JON CARDINELLI.

Neither side came into this contest with a realistic chance of qualifying for the play-offs, and if there was anything to play for, it was bragging rights. The Bulls won the first installment of the north-south derby 28-12, and would have wanted to follow that up with another convincing win in the second clash at Newlands.

As it was, the Stormers were the more physical and motivated team on the day. In fact, they may have won by far more had they converted more of their scoring chances.

They dominated the tackle during the early stages, as well as the scrum battle. This allowed them to win territory, and after spending time camped in Bulls territory, they scored through Jaco Taute in the 15th minute.

By the end of the half, the Stormers had extended their lead to 16 points. That lead would have been greater had they been more accurate and patient on attack.

The biggest disappointment was their lineout. This was the one area in which the Bulls caused problems. with Victor Matfield securing some important turnovers for the visitors.

However, that the Bulls couldn’t make these turnovers count said something for the Stormers' defence, as well as for the visitors’ limp attack.

The Bulls’ tactical kicking was poor, and their decision-making abysmal. They were outplayed at the breakdowns and collisions, but they may have taken better options when they did win set piece possession, or indeed, a penalty.

Matfield was guilty of pointing to the touchline on several occasions when he should have been pointing to the posts. The Stormers defence went on to sack the Bulls’ lineout maul, or secure the crucial breakdown turnover.

This is the second consecutive match at Newlands in which the Stormers have failed to concede a single point. It is also the first time in Super Rugby history that they have kept the Bulls scoreless.

The Stormers started the season poorly, and the performance they produced this past Saturday was far from perfect. Nevertheless, the win against the Bulls is their fourth on the trot, and it's encouraging to see them showing more attacking intent without compromising their defence.

Stormers – Try: Jaco Taute. Conversion: Kurt Coleman. Penalties: Coleman (3).

Stormers – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger (c), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Seabelo Senatla.

Bulls – 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh 7 Jacques Engelbrecht, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Morné Mellett, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23 William Small-Smith.

Flanker Nizaam Carr got through a lot of work at the breakdown, and carried the ball strongly. He also showed his handling skills in the build-up to Jaco Taute's try.

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Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

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Jon Cardinelli