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Lively Stormers deny Bulls

Sat, 13 Jul 2013 19:00
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The defeat sees the Bulls end in second place

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The Stormers produced a lively performance to beat the Bulls 30-13 at Newlands and deny them top spot in the standings.
The Stormers produced a lively performance to beat the Bulls 30-13 at Newlands and deny them top spot in the standings.

In Cana of Galilee the best wine was kept till last. In Newlands of Cape Town this evening the best performance was kept till last. In Cana the best wine was fully enjoyed; the same is true of Newlands where the big, noisy crowd, 45 416 of them,
thoroughly enjoyed putting one over the northern rivals.

They did not mind that the defeat made it a bit harder for their compatriots when it is their turn to step up in a semifinal at Loftus in a fortnight's time, They did not mind a bit. But come that semifinal they will be noisily behind the Bulls. That is the rugby way in South Africa.

The Stormers' were different. They did things differently. They scored a try with a clever line-out variation, they took a quick throw-in, they ran and passed and, as never before this year, their wings got passes. And right to the end, when the game was won, they still knocked Bulls over with gusto.

The Stormers were good; the Bulls were not They were outscrummed, lost line-outs and were beaten at the breakdown. Eventually they waved the white flag and took off their 'main manne' and sent on substitutes.

One thing is obvious the Bulls are going to have to fix their scrumming or they will be knocked out in a fortnight's time. They had the Aussie sickness and of their 10 scrums seven fell down. That's not great. Even their first choice front row of Dean Greyling, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Werner Kruger was not good enough. It's hard to play welt in a crucial game off a wobbly scrum.

The Bulls had the first attempt at scoring when they passed back to Morné Steyn in a good position but he missed the drop attempt.

A penalty gave the Stormers a line-out six metres out. Another penalty gave them a line-out five metres out. They did some to-ing and fro-ing deep in the line-out and then Skarra Ntubeni threw to Eben Etzebeth at the front of the line-out and with Lilliputian Bulls hanging off him he forced his way over for a try in the left corner. Gary van Aswegen,whose goal-kicking and general play were exceptional, goaled. 7-0 after 10 minutes.

Deon Fourie was penalised for unlawful activities at a maul and Steyn goaled. 7-3 after 13 minutes. And them came a moment of delight for Newlands. The Stormers attacked, bashing at Bulls. Then they went wide left where Jean de Villiers gave a pass to Bryan Habana near the left touchline. The splendid wing, a darling of Newlands, cut back inside and the Bulls defence evaporated as he raced the 20-odd metres to dive over near the posts. Oh, how the Stormers loved it as they shouted out with glee. 14-3 after 16 minutes. Two tries already.

The Bulls did the unusual. They kicked a highly kickable penalty into touch for a five-metre line-out. Ralepelle overthrew the line-out but Steyn got the ball and the Bulls bashed. Greyling was within millimetres of scoring, which produced a five-metre scrum. The Bulls went right and Zane Kirchner went over Van Aswegen to score. 14-10 after 21 minutes. That was promising but it turned out that that was as good as it got for the visitors.

Van Aswegen kicked three penalties and on the stroke of half-time Steyn kicked one to make the score 23-13 at the break. That Steyn penalty had a sad origin. Jean de Villiers was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle. After Francois Venter had passed the ball De Villiers banged into him late and leading with his shoulder. It hurt Venter and earned De Villiers a rare trip to the sin bin. The Bulls tried another line-out and maul but the Stormers knocked them back with vigour. The half was up when De Kock Steenkamp was penalised. There was no time for another line-out and Steyn kicked it over.

The second half was full of intensity and activity though it produced just one score. The Stormers attacked at speed - left and right, quick ball from the tackle until they were right at the Bulls' line. De Villiers picked up and dived over for the try. 30-13, which was the final score 25 minutes later.

The Bulls actually had the better of possession and territory in this time. They strained but produced not a single point.

Twice Bjorn Basson went racing away on overlaps. The first time Gerhard van den Heever tackled him. The second time he chipped and, falling back Gio Aplon marked.

They used a penalty for a line-out and then a tap to bash but each time the Stormers kept them out, even after Martin Bezuidenhout was sin-binned to fulfil a referee's warning. The Bulls became increasingly frantic and it was the Stormers who came with in ace of scoring. Well inside the Stormers' 22 Elton Jantjies won a turnover and the Stormers went left. Juan de Jongh had Habana free on his left but did not pass. Instead he kicked the ball a long way downfield. Loyal Habana chased after the ball. He and Kirchner dived for it. The ball was knocked towards the Bulls' line where Aplon did what was necessary to score a try. The referee consulted the TMO who advised him that Habana had just knocked on.

At the end the Bulls were penalised. Fourie stood in touch and Habana kicked the ball to him to end the match. Fourie caught the ball and brought it back to Habana who was ending his Stormers' career as he is sailing for Toulon - along with other top players whose careers are fading out.

Man of the Match: There are Stormer candidates - powerful Eben Etzebeth, Gary van Aswegen who revolutionised Stormers back play and kicked with deadly accuracy, action man Deon Fourie, so fearless and committed and our choice, not just for sentimental reasons, Bryan Habana for another 80 minutes filled with courage and energy - and the best try of the day.

The scorers:

For the Stormers:

Tries: Etzebeth, Habana, De Villiers
Cons: Van Aswegen 3
Pens: Van Aswegen 3

For the Bulls:
Try:
Kirchner
Con: Steyn
Pens: Steyn 2

Yellow cards: Jean de Villiers (Dangerous tackle, 39 mins), Martin Bezuidenhout (Repeated infringements, 68 mins)

Teams:

Stormers:
15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Louis Schreuder,8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Don Armand, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Damian de Allende.

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Morné Mellett, 19 Jacques du Plessis, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Jürgen Visser.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Linston Manuels (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

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