Planet Rugby

Bulls comeback silences Stormers

10th May 2014 19:55

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CHIEFS E2014SUPERUGBY LOFTUS VERSFELD RUGBY S15 SUPER 15 SUPER RUGBY TOYOTA CHEETAHS HANDRE POLLARD

On song: Handrč Pollard

Handrč Pollard played a key role as the Bulls came from behind to win 28-12 against the Stormers, scoring 28 unanswered points.

The Bulls rallied from an early deficit and thanks to the kicking of Pollard picked up their fifth win of the season to move eight points behind the Sharks.

Seeing the Stormers play with greater ambition was a welcome sight but that evaporated as the Bulls fought their way back into the contest.

South Africa's worst side this season moved back to the bottom of the log after the Cheetahs' losing bonus point against the Force, which is where they will stay. The number of injuries they have suffered is bizarrely high and they couldn't match the physicality of their hosts as the contest wore on.

Juan de Jongh was in scintillating form in the first half, setting up the opening try for Kurt Coleman and then finishing well under pressure as the Stormers scored the only tries of the half.

Coleman's score was created by a turnover from Nizaam Carr, Schalk Burger carrying the ball up and offloading to the exciting youngster Cheslin Kolbe. De Jongh then stepped a defender and drew the last man for Coleman to stroll over.

The Stormers' lead felt against the run of play with the Bulls dictating territory, but it then got even better for Allister Coetzee's beleaguered side.

Number over on the left created enough space for de Jongh to cut his way infield, reaching to dot the ball down just in time. More or less written off before kickoff, the Stormers lead 12-0 after 20 minutes.

The Bulls needed to respond and did so gradually through the boot of Handrč Pollard, the 20-year-old who will soon fly off to play for the Baby Boks.

Pollard knocked over three penalties and a drop goal to level the scores at 12-12 by half-time in a measured performance.

The kicking trend continued at the beginning of the second half as Pollard put the Bulls into the lead for the first time, knocking over his fourth penalty.

A scrappy period with both sides battling for territory ended with Pollard adding another three points, the lineout proving to be a source of struggle for the Stormers and Bulls.

Having taken the lead and created a little bit of daylight between themselves and the opponents, the Bulls landed a killer blow.

Akona Ndungane won the race to Francois Hougaard's grubber kick, grounding the ball and with Pollard's conversion the Bulls lead 25-12.

Jacques-Louis Potgieter came on for Pollard and added an extra three to the lead to extend his tally for the season since returning from France, with the Bulls now seemingly out of reach.

Damien de Allende was denied a try in the corner late on by a well-timed tackle from Jurgen Visser, who shone throughout, as the Stormers' final opportunity went begging.

It marked the end of a match where the Bulls had impressed by the end, with the defence holding firm after the opening quarter whilst keeping the scoreboard moving. They were too smart, too physical, and won as a result.

The scorers:

For Bulls:
Try: Ndungane
Con: Pollard
Pens: Pollard 5, Potgieter
Drop Goal: Pollard

For Stormers:
Tries: Coleman, de Jongh
Con: Coleman

Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Morné Mellett, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Wimpie van der Walt, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23 William Small-Smith

Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Peter Grant,11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger (captain), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Brok Harris
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Siya Kolisi, 20 Deon Fourie, 21 Dylon Frylinck, 22 Michael van der Spuy, 23 Devon Williams

Referee: Craig Joubert South Africa
Assistant Referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Jaco van Heerden (both South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff

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