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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

Bulls end Stormers losing streak with 40-22 win

The Bulls managed to hold their nerve on their way to beating the Stormers 40-22 in the United Rugby Championship.

With the backing of their fans, the Bulls managed to get their first win over the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship after defeating them 40-22 on Saturday night in Pretoria.

The win for the Bulls takes away an unwanted losing streak against the Stormers, but more importantly, it keeps them ahead in the URC points table, something their director of rugby Jake White wanted during the week.

Thanks to the bonus point win, the Bulls moved to first place on the log with 40 points, while the Stormers remained with 30 points in seventh place.

The game was a great advert for the domestic rugby scene as scores of Bulls and Stormers fans filled Loftus Versfeld to the brim as they went to see one of South African sports’ biggest rivalries.

Delayed kick-off

However, they had to wait an hour to see their teams run to the field as kick-off was moved from 5.05pm to 5.35pm and then to 6pm due to weather inspection because of a thunderstorm warning.

When kick-off eventually came, the fans went back to their seats as the battle lines between the Bulls and Stormers were drawn.

The Bulls scored their first try in the opening minute through Johan Grobbelaar with Johan Goosen kicking in the conversion.

The Stormers took time to settle into the game as the Loftus crowd created a hostile environment for them. They conceded penalties, they made schoolboy errors and were punished by Goosen as he kicked in two penalties to make the score 13-0 after 13 minutes.

The visitors got into their game, they started to move the ball around and got on the scoreboard via a Ben Loader try two minutes later. However, their discipline at the breakdown and scrums let them down, allowing Goosen to kick in two more penalties.

The Bulls were winning the contact battles and the set pieces, which helped in keeping the crowd engaged in the game.

Stormers fight back

Even though they were not playing their best rugby, the Stormers stayed in the contest and caused the Bulls stress whenever fullback Warrick Gelant had the ball. His composure and playmaking ability gave the Stormers confidence.

The away side got their second try via Evan Roos from a maul. Before the score, the Bulls were reduced to 14 players after Stedman Gans was sent to the sin bin.

The Stormers had the momentum in the later stages of the first half, winning a scrum penalty that was converted after the hooter went off. The successful penalty kick by Manie Libbok meant the Stormers went to the break trailing 19-15.

The Stormers had the momentum on their side and pinned the Bulls in the red zone at the start of the second half. They kicked for the lineout twice to show their intent to score. The Bulls’ defence was resolute and were able to weather the storm.

Bulls punish the Stormers

The home side ascended to dominance and had a numbers advantage after Gelant got a yellow card for clashing into Bulls winger Kurt-Lee Arendse’s head.

The Bulls made their advantage count as Grobbelaar scored his second converted try after controlling the maul from the back.
The Bulls took the sting out of the Stormers and took advantage of their ill-discipline, using it to get out of dangerous situations.

The hosts scored their third try through Canan Moodie who chased a kick from David Kriel, catching it before running to dot down the white line. Goosen got in the extras to make the score 33-15 by the hour mark.

Although the Bulls were in pole position in the match, they knew the match was not over because of the team they were playing. The Stormers kept themselves alive in the game after Andre-Hugo Venter scored from the maul with Libbok kicking in the conversion.

The final ten minutes came down to who could hold their nerve, with the experienced player required to hold their hands up. The Bulls controlled the possession and played in the Stormers’s territory. A late converted try from Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier secured a 40-22 win for the home side, much to the jubilation of the fans.

Bulls: Try – Johan Grobbelaar (2), Canan Moodie, Embrose Papier; Conversion – Johan Goosen (4); Penalty – Goosen (4)
Stormers: Tries – Ben Loader, Evan Roos, Andre-Hugo Venter; Conversion – Manie Libbok (2); Penalty – Libbok

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