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Bulls tackle Stormers into submission to end URC drought

MATCH REPORT: The Bulls scored their first-ever United Rugby Championship win over the Stormers – a bonus-point (40-22) victory at a sold-out Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

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The result also ended the Stormers’ unbeaten run against fellow South African teams that lasted more than two years.

More significantly, the four tries mean the Bulls will finish the Round 11 weekend in at least second place on the overall standings and top of the SA Shield conference.

The win was based on some resolute defence and forward dominance.

They were certainly aided by a litany of Stormers’ errors.

In summary, the Bulls were more physical and more clinical in using their opportunities.

URC SA Shield after five rounds

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The Bulls got off to the perfect start – hooker Johan Grobbelaar finished adding powerful maul, with Goosen adding the conversion for a 7-0 lead after two minutes.

Five minutes later Goosen had a penalty kick at goal from inside his half, but just pushed it wide.

The Stormers’ poor discipline continued top be problematic, Goosen getting a shot from 45 metres out in the 10th minute – this time finding the target, 10-0.

Two minutes later the Stormers conceded their fifth penalty – Goosen making it 13-0.

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The Stormers eventually composed themselves and Ben Loader scored the visitors’ first try, after being put into space by Dan du Plessis after a poor clearance kick by the Bulls. Manie Libbok was wide with the conversion – 5-13.

The penalties continued to mount against the Stormers, Goosen slotting his third kick to make it 16-5 at the end of the first quarter.

That soon became 19-5 after a scrum penalty against the Stormers.

The Stormers’ next scoring opportunity came on the half-hour mark, the Bulls were penalised for offside at a ruck and the visitors set up a line-out five metres out. However, a knock-on killed off the move.

However, the momentum shifted dramatically soon afterwards when Stedman Gans was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on and Evan Roos scored from the subsequent line-out and maul. Libbok narrowed the gap to 12-19.

Ruben van Heerden was yellow-carded for repeated offences – going offside. However, the yellow card was reversed when the TMO spotted an earlier act of foul play.

Referee Marius van der Westhuizen had his hands full explaining the reversal of the yellow card to the two captains.

On the stroke of half-time, the Stormers won a scrum penalty, with Libbok narrowing the gap to 15-19 at half-time.

The Stormers won a breakdown penalty early in the second half, but a knock-on handed possession back to the Bulls. Embrose Papier had a shocker for a clearance and Warrick Gelant punished them by winning a 50-22 line-out feed.

However, the Bulls won another turnover, with some fierce counter-rucking.

The Bulls were now making mistakes, with sloppy handling gifting the visitors attacking positions.

The momentum swung back to the Bulls when Warrick Gelant was yellow-carded for a high tackle.

That resulted in two quick penalties against the visitors. resulting in another team warning for repeated offences.

After a powerful maul, Grobbelaar got his second try. Goosen made it a 26-15 lead in the 50th minute.

The penalty count now started mounting against the Stormers again, gifting the Bulls free exist from their 22.

A great contestable kick saw the Stormers spill a ball, which was hacked through and Canan Moodie followed up for the third try. Goosen made it 33-15 on the hour mark.

The Stormers got themselves back into the game with a powerful maul try by Andre-Hugo Venter, Libbok’s conversion making it 22-33.

A scrum penalty to the Stormers et up another five-metre line-out, but a handling error handed possession back to the Bulls. That was followed by another penalty and another botched five-metre line-out.

Embrose Papier got the bonus point try with four minutes remaining – a spilt ball that was hacked through. Goosen’s conversion made it 40-22.

That is how it stayed to the end, even though Kurt-Lee Arendse was denied a late try as a result of a knock-on in the tackle.

Man of the match: Evan Roos deserves credit for his many carries and countless tackles. Warrick Gelant also made life difficult for the Bulls on the counter. For the Bulls Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie were outstanding in chasing contestable kicks. The home team’s entire starting pack – Marcell Coetzee , Reinhardt Ludwig, 6 Marco van Staden, Ruan Nortje, Ruan Vermaak, Wilco Louw, Johan Grobbelaar and Gerhard Steenekamp deserves plaudits. Our award goes to Bulls lock Ruan Nortje – who was a tower of strength in the lines, while his tackle count was only beaten by teammate Marco van Staden’s 16.

The scorers

For the Bulls
Tries: Grobbelaar 2, Moodie, Papier
Cons: Goosen 4
Pens: Goosen 4

For the Stormers
Tries: Loader, Roos, Venter
Cons: Libbok 2
Pen: Libbok

Yellow card: Stedman Gans (Bulls, 32 – cynical foul, deliberate knock-on), Warrick Gelant (Stormers, 47 – foul play, high tackle)

Teams

Bulls: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 David Kriel, 11 Canan Moodie, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Marcell Coetzee (co-captain), 7 Reinhardt Ludwig, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (co-captain), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Simphiwe Matanzima, 17 Akker van der Merwe, 18 Francois Kloppers, 19 JF van Heerden, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Willie Le Roux, 23 Mpilo Gumede.

Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Evan Roos, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Griffin Colby (South Africa) and Sean Muller (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

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