Stormers

Bulls loss makes it three losses for Stormers

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The Bulls held off a late Stormers surge Saturday to win 14-10 and move back to the top of the Super 14.


Each side scored a second-half try at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, but it was the Stormers who made all the running in the final quarter after coach Rassie Erasmus had made wholesale changes with his side trailing 6-3 at halftime.


The Bulls and the Waratahs lead the standings with 18 points, one more than the Sharks.


“The crowd helped and we lifted our defensive game during the last 10 minutes,” Bulls captain Victor Matfield said.


Wynand Olivier took advantage of the absence of sinbinned Stormers hooker Schalk Brits to score the first try.

 

When flyhalf Morne Steyn dropped a goal in the 54th minute to stretch the Bulls’ lead to 14-3 lead, the Stormers looked out of the match.

 

But replacement Stormers hooker Deon Fourie picked a gap between the Bulls props in the backline to slice through and score a try in the 64th.

 

Peter Grant converted to get the Stormers back into the match, and the Bulls only just held on.

“The crowd helped and we lifted our defensive game during the last 10 minutes,” Bulls captain Victor Matfield said.


Stormers captain Jean de Villiers was regretful of lost opportunities


“We were tactically good, we had plenty of guts, but in the end we were not good enough against a good Bulls side,” he said.


The first half was a battle of the boot, with neither team willing to run and attack until deep in the opposing 22-meter area.


The Stormers seemed to be initially winning that battle initially, forcing the Bulls to make mistakes on their own lineout throws, but the hosts gradually asserted a degree of control in the battle for the ball at the rucks.


Eventually, a sustained period of attack on the Stormers’ line led to a penalty to the Bulls, and Steyn opened the scoring with a penalty in the 24th minute.


The Stormers hit back with a raid into the Bulls’ 22 in the 32nd, and Willem de Waal slotted a drop goal to level the scores at 3-3.


But the Stormers infringed again when Brits tried to rip the ball from an attacker’s grasp while he was on the ground. He was yellow-carded, and Steyn put the Bulls in front 6-3 at the break.


“We showed a lot of patience but it’s tough to keep the ball for longer than three or four phases with the experimental laws,” Matfield said.


Sapa-AP

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