The Stormers beat the Bulls 37-24 after a performance of forward dominance and backline flair at Newlands in Cape Town.
The home team powered into a three-try 24-0 half time lead thanks to SP Marais, Cheslin Kolbe and Nizaam Carr.
12 points from flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis added to the Bulls’ woes.
The Bulls, to their credit, did not lie down, hitting back with three tries from inside the opening 20 minutes of the half.
A brace from Hanro Liebenberg and a try from prop Pierre Schoeman was not enough.
The home team added to their tally, scoring through skipper Siya Kolisi and Dillyn Leyds.
This match, is historically, the biggest in South African rugby due to the teams’ Currie Cup rivalry. It has not always been so in Super Rugby. The Bulls are by far, the most successful franchise in the country, with three titles to the Stormers’ none.
The intensity was predicted pre-match and the game did not disappoint. It was the home team who drew first blood with a wonderful try from
Damian De Allende’s quick-thinking caught the Bulls off guard. The centre passed to Jano Vermaak who took the ball over the into Bulls territory.
The scrumhalf drew the last defender, fullback Jesse Kriel, and passed to the on-running Marais who beat the covering defence to open the scoring with a sensational try. Du Plessis added an easy conversion and a 21st minute penalty for a 10-0 lead.
The Bulls’ scrum was by now, starting to feel the heat as the Stormers became dominant in the set-piece.
It was soon 17-0 when Kolbe collected EW Viljoen’s well-weighted grubber on the righthand touchline to score.
Things went from bad to worse when Lood de Jager went off injured. A knock-on from Dries Swanepoel led to a five-metre scrum to the Stormers with two minutes to half time.
The Stormers went to the open-side and through the phases as the attacked the Bulls goal-line.
Vermaak switched play back to the left-hand side of the field to De Allende, who gave a short ball Carr to crash over for from close range and give his team a 24-0 half time lead.
The Bulls came out firing and scored inside the opening minute of the second half when Liebenberg scored after some enterprising play. Pollard, having a poor day with the boot, missed the touchline conversion.
A Bulls comeback was snuffed out immediately when skipper, Kolisi dived over in the corner from Du Plessis’s smart offload.
The try was sent to the TMO but the captain kept himself infield to dot down. Du Plessis missed the kick but the Stormers’ lead was back to 24 points.
The game was end-to-end and within minutes of the Kolisi try, Schoeman crashed over after a well-timed run from Rudy Paige’s pass. Pollard added the extras, 29-12.
Du Plessis added a penalty before the teams traded two unconverted tries by Liebenberg (for his second) and Dillyn Leyds to make it 37-17.
Another consolation on the hooter from Piet van Zyl added some respectability to the final score.
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Final Score Stormers 37 (24) Bulls 24 (0)
Tries – Marais, Kolbe, Carr, Kolisi, Lleyds
Pen – Du Plessis (2)
Con – Du Plessis (3)
Tries – Liebenberg (2), Schoeman, Van Zyl
Con – Pollard, Schoeman
Cards – Gqoboka (Yellow, 75th minute)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Ref 1:Shuhei Kubo
Assistant Ref 2:Stuart Berry
TMO : Marius Jonker
15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi (c), 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (vc), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Rob du Preez
15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Handre Pollard(c), 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Nick de Jager, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Lizo Gqoboka, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Warrick Gelant