The Stormers became the first South African side to beat the Vodacom Bulls this season when they won 24-23 at Newlands. JON CARDINELLI reports.
Some might say that the Stormers got some revenge. After losing 40-3 at Loftus Versfeld in round one, they were the deserved winners in the return fixture at Newlands.
While the Stormers’ performance was not without error, they were physically superior for much of the contest. They cut the Bulls defence to shreds in the first half, and won the aerial and kicking battles.
The hosts were simply irrepressible in that first half.
The Stormers racked up 413 metres, nine clean breaks, beat 19 defenders and made 14 offloads. They were particularly successful down the left-hand flank, where the Bulls defence had no response.
The Bulls fought back from 14-3 down to trail 14-9 at the break. The visitors took the lead shortly after half-time after Ivan van Zyl scored and Handré Pollard added the extras.
The Stormers proceeded to show some ticker when they scored 10 unanswered points. Manie Libbok did the hosts a favour when he launched a kick down Dillyn Leyds’ throat. The winger broke the line and set the platform for Herschel Jantjies to score.
That try forced the Bulls to chase the game. After winning a penalty deep in Stormers territory, the visitors kicked to touch to set the lineout.
The home team’s defence was equal to the task, though, and forced a crucial turnover on their own line. That appeared to be a defining moment, and again it looked like the game was the Stormers’ to lose.
Libbok did the Stormers another big favour late in the game when he butchered a certain try. After doing so well to break the line and set up a two-on-one, Libbok opted to dummy the last defender instead of passing.
The Storrmers cover defence caught Libbok, and the Bulls were turned over.
Bizarrely, it was Libbok who ensured that the Bulls finished on a positive note. The replacement back struck after full-time to score under the posts and secure the losing bonus-point for the visitors.
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) April 27, 2019
Stormers –Tries: Sergeal Petersen, Seabelo Senatla, Herschel Jantjies. Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (2), Josh Stander. Penalty: Stander.
Bulls – Tries: Ivan van Zyl, Manie Libbok. Conversions: Handré Pollard (2). Penalties: Handré Pollard (3).
Stormers – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Joshua Stander, 23 Seabelo Senatla.
Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Handré Pollard (c), 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehan Herbst, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images