Stormers keep Bulls scoreless in scrappy Super Rugby clash
CAPE TOWN – A win is a win.
That’s probably a fair summary of the Stormers’ win over the Bulls.
This Super Rugby encounter was very different to the Stormers’ opening victory against the Hurricanes last week. We always knew it would be.
In the Newlands fixture, the Stormers kicked away a lot of possession in the first half and overall it wasn’t a performance they’d flagged as ‘performance goals’, and although the kicking game of course favoured the Bulls more, they weren’t at their best either.
It was clear that the Stormers weren’t in the business of turning a chance at three points away yesterday – they mostly went for posts rather than the corner in the opening half, even through flyhalf Damian Willemse’s kicking radar wasn’t on point on the day, missing two attempts at goal for three points and also one conversion. He connected a penalty kick early in the game to put the hosts 3-0 up.
With Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn’s presence, a kicking game was to be expected, and during the build-up, Stormers coach John Dobson also said they would go for a more pragmatic approach on attack. So no surprises there.
The Stormers expected a much tougher battle at scrum time than the one the Hurricanes presented in Round One, and they got that.
But the Stormers do deserve credit for keeping the Bulls scoreless. In Super Rugby, heck, any competitive rugby, that’s always a nice touch.
The first try of the game came just before half time after an attacking lineout in the Bulls’ 22 was followed up with a stunner of a driving maul. Inside centre Jamie Roberts touched down to take the score to 8-0.
In the second half, both teams kept the ball off the boot more, and the Stormers got good return from moving the ball through the hands when wing Seabelo Senatla received the ball next to touch and did what he does best – turn on the gas – to finish off and get the second and last try.
Senatla’s piece of play was superb, and Scarra Ntubeni also put in a good shift, bagging the Man of the Match award. Stand-in captain Steven Kitshoff also produced a big one with his big carries.
In the bigger scheme of things, this win was still a good one. They kept their first two teams scoreless, after all. The fact that the Bulls also brought a different challenge to Cape Town, one that the Stormers ultimately overcame, is also something that can only help Dobson’s side going forward.
The Stormers next face the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday at 3pm.
Stormers: Tries: Jamie Roberts, Seabelo Senatla Penalty: Damian Willemse