The Stormers made most of their limited opportunities to claim iffy bragging rights in the North-South derby with a 13-0 win over the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
While the hosts showed far more ruthlessness on attack – relatively speaking – they weren’t allowed to express themselves against opponents who were intent on dragging them down to their level.
Naturally, things became a bit messy, though the Bulls will feel they showed enough initiative in the latter stages to have made a fist of this game.
Who was the star in this match?
Stormers opensider Jaco Coetzee didn’t quite have the freedom to impose himself as ball-carrier as he did last week, but he still managed to make his presence felt. He made one of the few linebreaks in the match and tackled ruthlessly. His counterpart, Jeandre Rudolph, was a nuisance at the breakdown and continues to make a good impression too.
Key moments and themes
- After the highs of last week, the Stormers’ opening half hour was a disappointment. They rhythm was disrupted by a Bulls pack intent getting them involved in scraps, consequently also leading to the game being slowed down significantly. It didn’t mean the home side couldn’t cope, but it detracted badly from the spectacle.
- Yet what they did do well is still make use of fairly limited opportunities on attack. Centre Ruhan Nel’s quick tap put immense pressure on Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant, who conceded a penalty. That kick to touch saw the Stormers launch their most stable rolling maul of the game … and hooker Scarra Ntubeni’s opener.
- Shortly after the break, the Stormers once again pounced on attack. Following a few tight phases, No 8 Johan du Toit beautifully off-loaded to fullback Dillyn Leyds, who found Seabelo Senatla, the winger racing untouched for about 30m.
- That adversity seemed to spur on the Bulls, who dominated the final quarter. They were guilty on being far too one-dimensional for a period of six minutes after their admirable captain and centre Burger Odendaal got them in striking distance with a fine break. But they kept their attack far too close quartered against a meaty defensive line like the Stormers’. In general, their attack was toothless until replacement halfbacks Embrose Papier and Manie Libbok provided a bit of spark. It said much of the Bulls’ day – a prone break by Libbok was built on by veteran winger Cornal Hendricks, who bafflingly off-loaded to no teammate.
- The much-anticipated scrum battle was predictably attritional, but the Stormers – by a whisker – could claim bragging rights.
Stormers – Tries: Scarra Ntubeni, Seabelo Senatla. Penalty: Damian Willemse.