Bulls see red



May 23, 2016
Bulls see red

BULLS-EYE: Van Zyl congratulated by teammates. CREDIT: Sourced

Stormers overpowered at Loftus as Bulls forwards put their hands up.

The Stormers will probably rue their decision to play in the red away gear after they lost 17-13 to the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.

The men from Pretoria literally saw red and steamrolled their visitors in the encounter.

Despite enjoying the bulk of the possession and territory, the Stormers were met by a Bulls side that simply refused to let them past and bullied them at the set-pieces.

Coach Nollis Marais’ side disrupted the Stormers’ lineout almost at will and also won a number of scrum penalties that denied the visitors the opportunity to get good front-foot ball for their backline.

The defeat leaves coach Robbie Fleck and his charges with a single win in five outings and fourth in the South African group, also second in their Conference behind the Bulls.

Former All Blacks prop Richard Loe said last week that South African derbies “are as boring as goat sh!t”.

And Loe probably wouldn’t have watched this match.

He didn’t miss much, though, as the derby turned out to be a typical South African match with physicality and the battle at the collision being the trademark of the encounter.

The Bulls allowed the Stormers to do most of the playing and while they were forced to make 145 tackles, in comparison to the 60 made by the Stormers, they did so with aplomb only missing 16 of those while the Stormers missed 12.

It was, however, the visitors that drew first blood at Loftus, with flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis kicking the first penalty of the match in the third minute already (3-0).

With the scoreboard ticking that early, and both teams trying to play more of an attacking brand of rugby this year, fans probably expected a high-scoring derby.

Du Plessis’ opposite number, Francois Brummer, made it 3-3 in the eighth minute when Oli Kebble, who had a difficult evening against Marcel van der Merwe, being penalised at the scrum.

Two minutes later and another Du Plessis penalty meant the Stormers took the lead again 6-3.

And after Brummer levelled matters in the 14th minute, the points started to dry up.

Du Plessis then missed an opportunity at goal to give his team the lead heading into the break, with the score remaining 6-6 when New Zealand referee Ben O’Keefe sounded the whistle for half time.

Then the moment that changed the game.

With the Bulls getting a free kick, Cheslin Kolbe, who had a game to forget, was put under pressure from Brummer’s kick and the ball was subsequently snatched from the fullback by Bulls No.8 Arno Botha.

Midfielder Jan Serfontein then kicked the ball forward in a move that ultimately resulted in a try for scrumhalf Piet van Zyl (11-6).

The conversion was missed, but Brummer added another penalty to stretch their lead to 14-6.

The Stormers smelled the danger and knew they had to react.

And after another Du Plessis penalty miss, they had multiple phases in the Bulls’ red zone, but the hosts’ defence once again denied them the points.

Damian de Allende finally managed to break through to score a try in the 68th minute (14-13).

The final 10 minutes was tense, but when Tiaan Schoeman kicked a drop goal with five minutes to go, the scoring would end to give his team a 17-13 win.

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