Habana try sinks Bulls

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iol spt june3 Habana INLSA Blue Bulls old boy Bryan Habana scored the winning try as the Stormers remained top of the South African Conference in the Super Rugby standings. Picture: Etienne Rothbart.

The Stormers overcame the pink steamrolling Bulls to cement their place at the top of the South African Super Rugby conference with a 19-14 victory in Pretoria on Saturday.

It initially looked like the Bulls found the recipe to getting past the Stormers’ near impenetrable defence but a late Bryan Habana try saw the Bulls losing the North-South derby.

The Bulls mauled and bashed their way over the advantage line with the Stormers’ renowned defence unable to stop the Bulls.

As the match progressed the Bulls’ tactics frustrated the visitors as mistakes crept into their game with penalties also going against them.

The first half was an even affair with the two sides sharing possession evenly.

The Stormers struck the first blow 10 minutes into the match with flyhalf Peter Grant succeeding with a penalty conversion.

The Bulls, however, returned the favour four minutes later with Morne Steyn also converting his penalty kick.

On the 20 minute the Stormers wrestled back the lead with Grant slotting over a penalty.

Up to this point the Bulls followed the kick-and-chase game plan with little effect and switched to the more direct approach.

This proved to be fruitful as Bulls skipper Pierre Spies bashed his way over the try line in the 28th minute with Steyn missing the conversion.

The last minutes of the first half ticked over with both sides converting penalties to take the half-time scores to 11-9 in the Bulls’ favour.

After the break the Bulls got back on the score sheet with Steyn succeeding with another penalty conversion.

The Bulls seemed to be secure in the driving seat and smothered the Stormers of both possession and field position.

The Pretoria-based side was presented with a golden opportunity to take the match away from the Stormers with the visitors’ prop Frans Malherbe receiving a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.

They could, however, not convert this opportunity into points and instead of extending their lead they gave away a penalty which Grant converted.

The Bulls inability to close down the match saw the Stormers getting within two points of the hosts.

The Stormers struck the final demoralising blow when a darting Habana scored his side’s only try of the match.

Prop Deon Fourie forced a turn-over at the breakdown and the ball was spread wide to flanker Siya Kolisi who sent a well weighted pass into the hands of a flying Habana.

With Grant succeeding with the conversion the Stormers were in a commanding position to cement their place at the top of the South African conference log.

The Bulls tried to no avail to wrestle the lead back and left thousands of pink clad fans disappointed.

Scorers: Bulls 19 (11): Tries: Pierre Spies. Conversion: Morne Steyn.

Penalties: Morne Steyn (2) Stormers (9) 14: Tries: Bryan Habana. Conversion: Peter Grant.

Penalties: Peter Grant (3). – Sapa


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