The Stormers beat the Bulls 13-0 in a ferocious, ill-tempered South African derby in the sunshine of Newlands, Cape Town.
Tries in each half from Siyabonga Ntubeni and Seabelo Senatla drove the Stormers to a hard-fought north/south South African derby over the listless Bulls.
The victory is the ninth in a row at Newlands for the home team against their oldest rivals going back to 2011.
This Bulls’ defeat is the sixth on the bounce away from home.
Had it not been for a disappointing kicking display by Damian Willemse, who kicked one from five, the Stormers would have won by more.
The Cape franchise continues their good start to the 25th Super Rugby season with a second win on the trot after another solid defensive display against the winless Bulls.
The Pretoria side followed up their opening-round loss against the Sharks with another error-strewn performance.
Pote Human’s side leaked penalties at crucial stages, often in promising positions on the opposition’s try-line, which killed his team.
The three-time Super Rugby champions dominated territory and possession, but also the penalty count, while also losing three of their set-pieces as they struggled to hold onto the ball.
Bulls draw a blank with their stodgy attacking play and penchant for kicking away possession
Their attack was insipid and their discipline non-existent as they failed to land a blow on their opponents.
Morne Steyn and Ivan van Zyl kicked away possession at every turn, although, both teams did throughout to be fair.
One play summed up the Bulls attacking ineptitude.
Cornal Hendricks, with less than five minutes remaining, broke into the Stormers’ 22 and looked odds on to score or set-up a try.
He had Jeandré Rudolph on his right and Rosco Specman on his left. It was a three-on-one, which the Bulls botched.
It looked easier to score than not, but the winger threw a lazy pass into the grateful arms of the recovering Ali Vermaak, and the try went begging.
What a disaster.
The Stormers were full value for the win, though, the only problems were of their own making, that and Willemse losing his compass.
The young flyhalf missed
John Dobson’s side continued their brick-wall defence, keeping the Bulls scoreless with a belligerent defensive outing.
Jamie Roberts and Ruhan Nel immense in midfield.
The Welshman made two vital turnovers, one in the first half when he stripped the ball under intense pressure inside his 22.
The other with less than two minutes to play when he helped hold up Burger Oudendaal, winning the scrum to close out the game.
The Stormers shutout the dangerous Hurricanes in their 27-nil opening-round win last weekend. They did it again and looked a formidable team.
A stop-start affair struggles to get going as both teams involved in scuffles
Willemse opened the scoring with a thrid-minute penalty after his opposite number Steyn’s high tackle on Pieter-Steph du Toit.
The game could not get going; there were nine scrums inside the first quarter as well as nine handling errors combined despite the warm, dry conditions.
Three times inside half-an-hour referee Marius van der Westhuizen had to stop play to pull the players apart, in what is a heated rivalry, as tempers flared.
Wales legend Roberts won a crucial turnover when he stripped an attacker near his try-line to relieve pressure after a promising attack by the Bulls.
Frans Malherbe, playing in his 100th Super Rugby game, struggled in the scrums, giving away two penalties as the Bulls took control.
Both sets of scrumhalves and flyhalves continued to kick away possession as they looked for territory, trying to take advantage of the opposition’s mistakes.
The handling errors mounted, the penalties increased, ill-discipline continued.
Jaco Visagie took out Salmaan Moerat illegally at the ruck before another penalty allowed Willemse a shot at goal from a distance.
The 21-year-old playmaker shanked his kick, and the score remained 3-0 after 32 minutes.
Seabelo Senatla won a penalty after chasing down Warrick Gelant, who did not release in the tackle.
Willemse kicked to the corner, setting up a driving maul from 10 metres out, and his forwards did the rest, bulldozing the opposition’s pack for the first try of the game.
It was Ntubeni who stood up with the ball, his fifth Super Rugby score.
Willemse’s conversion was unsuccessful, but the home team went into the shed with a two-score lead.
Much the same from both teams after the break as handling errors and penalties continue to mount
The second period began much like the first started and finished, with more reset scrums after handling mistakes.
Lizo Gqoboka gave away the Bulls’ first scrum-penalty allowing Willemse a chance to extend his side’s lead; however, the flyhalf pushed his kick well wide.
Visagie was again pinged for an off-the-ball incident inside the opposition’s half.
It allowed Willemse to set-up a lineout inside the Bulls’ half.
From this set-piece, the Stormers extended their lead, making the visitors pay for their ill-discipline.
It was Dillyn Leyds who sent Blitzboks legend Senatla away for a 50-metre score in the corner.
Willemse’s conversion attempt sailed well wide again, keeping Human’s charges in the contest.
Bulls finish strong but cannot breach the blue wall as Stormers hold on
The last quarter was all Bulls.
They had several attacking scrums and lineouts on the Stormers’ try-line, but could not convert pressure into points.
Knock-ons, poor passes, and accidental offside all conspired to keep the visitors scoreless.
Another reprieve from a scrum-penalty, as the clock ticked down, saw the Stormers clear their lines
Human’s men kept attacking, they seemed to spend the last 15 minutes camped inside the opposition’s half, but could not cross the whitewash.
With time running out, the Bulls had one final chance to get some points.
But yet again, the midfield duo of Roberts and Nel kept the Bulls at bay.
Final Score: Stormers 13 (8) Bulls 0 (0)
Tries – Ntubeni, Senatla
Pen – Willemse
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 1: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 2: Divan Uys
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Johan du Toit, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Cobus Wiese, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Jeandré Rudolph, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.