Stormers conquer Loftus

Date published: February 14 2015

The Stormers kicked off their Super Rugby campaign with a precious away win, beating arch-rivals the Bulls 29-17 in Pretoria.

The Stormers outscored their misfiring, ever-predictable hosts two tries to one for a deserved victory at Loftus Versfeld.

The Bulls last tasted defeat at home in their semi-final defeat against the Brumbies back in 2013.

Despite being on the wrong side of the possession and territory stats, the Stormers led 17-5 at the interval thanks to tries from debutant wing Dillyn Leyds and skipper Duane Vermeulen.

Indeed, the Bulls – who had scored the first try of the game via a rolling maul – dominated field position and had most of ball in the first half, but never really looked like breaking the Stormers defence down.

The second half proved to be a battle of the kickers as the Bulls dragged themselves bag into contention. But the Stormers finished the stronger side and will head back to Cape Town brimming with confidence.

The Stormers' pack dominated the battle of the battle of the forwards while they gave the Bulls a lesson at scrum time.

Their dominant scrum performance completely took the wind out of the Bulls' sails as they had enough front-foot ball to do as they pleased.

The home-side's much publicised shift from their traditional kick-and-suffocate approach to a more expansive style was only evident in the opening six minutes of the encounter.

It took just four minutes for the home side to open the scoring as Deon Stegmann crashed over after a textbook lineout and maul drive, but they failed to trouble the scorers again before the break.

Leyds was first to strike for the Stormers, cashing in on an error from Jurgen Visser, who dropped a high ball. The Stormers wing pounced on the fumble and bolted home. Demetri Catrakilis added the conversion.

Vermeulen extended the lead on the half-hour mark, running a brilliant line to slip a tackle cross under the posts after a solid build up from his backs with Cheslin Kolbe and Damian de Allende prominent.

Again Catrakilis added the extras as the visitors took a comfortable lead into the changing rooms.

The Bulls upped the ante in the second half though, forcing a series of errors from the Stormers defence.

Handré Pollard kicked four penalties to one from Catrakilis to cut the gap to just three points at 20-17 going into the final quarter.

The Bulls continued to make errors at crucial teams. Catrakilis added three more points and a late penalty and drop-goal from Kurt Coleman sealed the result.

The scorers:

For Bulls:
Try: Stegmann
Pens: Pollard 4

For Stormers:
Tries: Leyds, Vermeulen
Cons: Catrakilis 2
Pens: Catrakilis 3, Coleman
Drop: Coleman

Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Piet Van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Jacques Du Plessis, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morné Mellet, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Pierre Spies, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Dayan van der Westhuizen

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Jaco van Heerden, Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Johan Greeff