Stormers snatch victory from the Bulls with two late tries at Loftus
In a quite remarkable match that marked their return to the United Rugby Championship (URC), the Stormers upstaged the Bulls 30-26 at Loftus on Saturday.
Apart from fortunes fluctuating wildly during the match, proceedings on the field were also affected when television transmission ceased after broadcaster SuperSport's Outside Broadcast truck caught fire.
First there was a short break in transmission but later the feed had to be cut.
On the field, and witnessed only by the 2,000 in attendance, the Stormers scored a late converted try through replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet to snatch victory.
They looked down and out after the Bulls came storming back after falling 18-0 behind in the first half.
The Bulls scored 26 unanswered points but the Stormers dusted themselves off at the end with tries by Herschel Jantjies and De Wet to snatch the win.
While it was the late tries that sealed the win, much of the groundwork was laid in the first half when they repelled the resurgent Bulls in the second quarter with stout defence.
To be fair, the Bulls did not help their cause with their frenetic, rushed approach.
Stormers flyhalf Manie Libbok pulled all the right strings, in the first half at least, when he operated in concert with wing Seabelo Senatla, who scored the visitors' first two tries.
The Stormers got onto the board first but they were aided no end by Bulls wing Madosh Tambwe who could not master the bouncing ball on his own try line. While he was trying to track the ball's next bounce, Senatla pounced in the corner.
His second came as a result of a deft kick into space by Libbok.
While Senatla's tries advanced the Bulls on the scoreboard, it was their stout defence that prevented the Stormers from doing the same.
Van Rhyn, however, got yellow-carded after the halftime siren and the Bulls made the one-man advantage count with a maul try.
It was just reward for the Bulls who played with more vigour and precision after their first quarter wobbles.
At halftime Bulls coach Jake White felt the need to summon the cavalry in the shape of flyhalf Morne Steyn, flank Marcell Coetzee and centre Harold Vorster, all vastly experienced players.
Another replacement, Lizo Gqoboka arguably made the biggest difference as he brought solidity to the Bulls.
Tambwe made amends for his earlier gaffe when he surged into the line on an diagonal run after Steyn and Vorster set up an inside pass.
Then in slightly bizarre circumstances, Embrose Papier scored a try that only those in attendance saw. Transmission from the ground was interrupted as Papier got onto the scoresheet and things got a bit awkward when referee Jaco Peyper asked for the television match official's opinion.
That facility was no longer available and for safety reasons the feed had to be dropped soon after.
With very few watching, the Stormers pulled off something quite remarkable at the death.
Bulls (26) — Tries: Johan Grobbelaar, Madosh Tambwe, Embrose Papier, Elrich Louw. Conversions: Chris Smith, Morne Steyn (2)
Stormers (30) — Tries: Seabelo Senatla (2), Herschel Jantjies, Paul de Wet. Conversions: Manie Libbok (2). Penalties: Libbok (2)
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