Stormers grind North/South win against Bulls
The scoreboard will say the Stormers kept a second consecutive home clean sheet with their 13-0 win against the Bulls at Newlands but there was nothing convincing about the victory.
It meant the Bulls have yet to beat the Stormers at Newlands since 2011, not that they should have.
While the Stormers were off-colour, the Bulls were worse in their second consecutive loss of the season.
In-between Damian Willemse’s third-minute penalty and Jamie Roberts’s 38th-minute try, the game was the typical North/South Africa.
It was devoid of flair but filled with passion, endeavour, kicking and the nervous mistakes that are synonymous with this fixture.
With the game most probably being the last North/South Derby at Newlands unless the sides meet again in the playoffs, a big crowd made the most of a sunny afternoon.
Unfortunately, the game, especially in the first half, did not dish up the rugby the big crowd deserved. It was a slugfest from start to finish
For the better part of the game, it was a case of the Springbok props on both sides testing each other out at every scrum while Willemse and Morne Steyn waged a tactical kicking battle that had no outright victor.
Instead, it was the forwards who had the most intriguing battle as the Stormers’ young guns tried to show up their older Bulls counterparts.
The Stormers were let down by Willemse’s absent goalkicking as missed penalties and conversions would have given the hosts a better buffer.
That said, the forwards played a big role in the two tries.
They set up the rolling maul that Roberts used to score his first Super Rugby try.
In the second half, it was the ranging Johan du Toit, younger brother of Pieter-Steph, who drew the two defenders to him to create the space out wide for Seabelo Senatla to score in the corner.
In the 50th minute, after Senatla’s try, the Stormers led 13-0, but if Willemse’s kicking boots were on, it could have been 23-0.
That meant the Bulls were never far from getting themselves back in the game. They tried their level best and spent more than 10 minutes in the Stormers’ 22 from the 52nd minute in an attempt to conjure up some point.
Due to their inaccuracy and indecision on attack and the Stormers’ admirable defence, the Bulls came away with nothing.
It was thoroughly deflating for the visitors, but they tried again in the last 10 minutes without success. It went even further south for the Bulls when they conceded a 73rd-minute scrum penalty in the Stormers 22.
Two minutes later, Cornal Hendricks inexplicably didn’t pass to Jeandre Rudolph or Johnny Kotze, who were unmarked on his outside after Manie Libbok’s break caught the Stormers defence napping. Their bad day was summed up by their captain Burger Odendaal who spilled a simple ball in the Stormers 22 in the 79th minute.
Stormers (8) 13
Tries: Jamie Roberts, Seabelo Senatla
Penalty: Damian Willemse
Bulls (0) 0