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Bulls v Stormers: Tale of the Tape

The Stormers are on a seven-match winning streak against the Bulls, but the stats of the current United Rugby Championship season tell a very intriguing tale.

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When the two teams go head-to-head at Loftus Versfeld next week, there will be a lot more than just domestic bragging rights at stake.

Yes, the game is important in terms of the battle for the South African Shield – which the Stormers lead with 17 points, having won all four of their encounters with SA franchises, two more than the Bulls with three wins and a loss.

However, the Bulls are the top SA team in the overall URC standings – third (seven wins from 10 starts, 35 points), behind Leinster (39 points) and Glasgow (36).

The Stormers are sixth overall, with 30 points.

The Bulls are on a four-match winning streak since their last loss, the 20-26 reverse to the Stormers in Cape Town on December 23.

(Continue below …)

SA URC Shield standings after four rounds

This season’s statistics also suggest the Bulls are improving – having scored 349 points in 10 games and conceded 220 – a match average of 35-22.

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In contrast, the Stormers scored 238 points and conceded 184 – 24-18.

The Bulls scored 47 tries, and conceded 25 against the Stormers’ 29 scored and 25 conceded.

Defence also tells an interesting story – the Stormers’ 1324 tackles came at a success rate of 88 percent, with the Bulls’ 1123 tackles almost on par at 87 percent.

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Of the Stormers’ 167 tackles in their 25-21 Round 10 win over the Sharks, new Springbok squad member Ruben van Heerden made a round-high of 25.

That took his season total to 135 – the most in the competition and an average of almost 14 tackles per game. He has also won 42 line-outs this season, third most of all players.

Throw in his 11 offloads and you begin to understand why Bok coach Rassie Erasmus rates the hard-working lock, who can also play blindside flank, so highly.

His teammate and also a member of the Bok alignment camp next month, Evan Roos, beat five Sharks defenders, and made two linebreaks and 16 tackles in Durban.

Roos has also won 10 turnovers this season.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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