The Stormers scored a 76th-minute try to snatch a victory away from the Vodacom Bulls in a thrilling Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash in Pretoria on Saturday.
While the Bulls had been full of banter before the match, it was the Stormers who appeared to be walking the talk as John Dobson’s team opened up a deserved 18-point lead in the first half.
This was mainly due to the surprising dominance of the Stormers pack, as the visitors did similar damage to the Bulls as the Bulls had done to Western Province in a Currie Cup match in midweek.
Mercurial flyhalf Manie Libbok thrived on this dominance, using the momentum and space afforded to him to twice set up Seabelo Senatla with grubber kicks behind the Bulls defence.
However, the Bulls started to work their way back into the match towards the end of the first half. The hosts got their tails up when, after the Stormers lost Ernst van Rhyn to a yellow card late in the half, Johan Grobbelaar scored from a driving maul to make it 18-7 at half time.
Jake White’s team carried that momentum into the second half and got themselves right back into the match when Madosh Tambwe was released from a set piece and beat two tacklers on his way to the tryline.
Embrose Papier’s superb try gave the Bulls the lead for the first time in the match. Elrigh Louw then forced his way over to extend the Bulls’ lead to eight points, going into the last 20 minutes of the contest.
The visitors, though, never gave in and Warrick Gelant made a key impact when he was brought on off the bench, setting up Herschel Jantjies for a try, before Tambwe was yellow-carded for colliding with Senatla in the air.
In a dramatic finish, the Stormers grabbed the lead when Gelant and Willemse combined to send replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet over. The Bulls had a late chance to win it when they worked their way into Stormers territory after the full-time hooter, but Morne Steyn’s crossfield kick drifted into touch.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images