VIDEO: Bulls bully Stormers at Loftus
SUPER RUGBY MATCH REPORT: The Bulls bounced back from their winless Australasian tour with a hard-fought 33-23 win over Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Bulls scored five tries - including a hat-trick of tries from Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss, who set a new South African record by earning his 149th Super Rugby cap.
Johnny Kotze and Jesse Kriel scored the other two tries, while Handre Pollard added four successful conversions to the tally.
The Stormers, on the other hand, took a few steps as they continued to build on their dismal away form. The Cape Town-based side scored three tries courtesy of Jan de Klerk, Damian de Allende and captain Siya Kolisi, while Damian Willemse added eight points.
The Bulls were forced to into late changes due to injuries, however, it did not disturb the home side performance as their managed to bag four log-points with the win over arch-rival the Stormers.
The hosts displayed real intent as they tested the Stormers' pack in the opening minutes. After a period of relentless attack and great work by the pack, the Bulls earned reward with a try, when hooker Strauss went over the line from the back of a driving maul.
The Stormers finally got on the scoreboard with a penalty from Damian Willemse, but a yellow card shown to Damian de Allende just before Strauss’ second try for repeated infringements had the visitors under more pressure.
Soon Stormers conceded yet another driving maul try as Strauss powered his way over for his second try of the match, 12-3.
Just short of 25 minutes, Willemse narrowed the difference with another penalty kick.
However soon 12-6 became 19-6 as the Bulls hit back and extended their lead courtesy of former Stormers man Johnny Kotze. Pollard added the extras for the buffer.
On the stroke of half-time Stormers clawed their way back in the game. First, lock Jan De Klerk scored his first Super Rugby try as he stretched his way over the line, and then centre De Allende followed up a chip-kick with a great dive over the try-line.
The two late tries narrowed the score to just one point at half-time, 19-18 in favour of the Bulls.
Stormers started the second on the back-foot. The Cape Town-based side again went down to 14-man, this time Marius Van der Westhuizen handed the yellow card to Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Minutes later, Bulls extended their lead as Strauss bagged a hat-trick with one of easiest tries of his Super Rugby career - the hooker benefitted from an overthrown lineout ball from the Stormers.
Pollard added the extra to restore the eight-point buffer, 26-18.
Stormers managed to show good composure under pressure and their patience was rewarded when captain Siya Kolisi scored in the corner.
However, the home side had the last laugh as they hit back with a try from centre Jesse Kriel which was awarded by the TMO, which sealed the victory for the home side.
Man of the match: The Bulls pack were amazing and outplayed the Stormers up front, Adriaan Straus deserves a mention, however for his hard work at the breakdown our nod goes to Bulls flank Marco van Staden.
Tries: Strauss 3, Kotze, Kriel
Cons: Pollard 4
Tries: De Klerk, De Allende, Kolisi
Pens: Willemse 2
Yellow Cards: Damian De Allende (Stormers, 15 - Off feet), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers, 41 - accidental foul play), Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls, 79 - Dangerous tackle)
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Hendre Stassen, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Frans van Wyk, 18 Lizo Gqoboka, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Duncan Matthews.
Stormers: 15 Sarel Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Jano Vermaak, 23 Craig Barry.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)