Bulls v.s Stormers match review
February 22, 2013
In front of a divided “home crowd” the Bulls and Stormers went head to head in this opening South African derby of the Super Rugby competition. Pre-kickoff there was a 50 50 split in terms of global prediction and expectations. Would this match play out to its knife-edge billing?
First 20: 7.25/10
The opening five minutes were punctuated by handling errors forced by excellent defence from both sides. The Bulls began to take a slight ascendancy in the arm-wrestle for territory. After several attacking phases for the Bulls in which the Stormers were severely stretched, the Bulls were awarded with a penalty for an infringement at the break-down. Morne Steyn made no mistake of his shot at goal.
The frequency of errors continued into the rest of this opening stanza with the Stormers doing most of the defending, albeit very effectively. The Bulls made their intention of using the width of the field very clear by running and passing down the line whenever possible. The defence of both sides continued to dominate proceedings with very little clean attacking play being featured.
The Stormers eventually won a kick-able penalty 13 minutes in but Elton Jantjies missed his attempt at goal. Morne Steyn continued to control proceedings with some superb tactical kicking which effectively pinned the Stormers back into their own half. An aerial battle began to take shape toward the end of this opening stanza as both sides became more desperate for territory.
Second 20: 7.5/10
The Stormers began to claw their way back into the match through some disciplined play whilst making the most of the little possession which they had. After minutes on attack the Stormers won a penalty 5 meters from the Bulls line. They opted for the lineout but immediately lost possession on the throw-in. At this point the match was at a very level pegging with the Stormers’ defence the stronger of the two but the Bulls had the upper hand in the set pieces. After a good passage of play working their way up the field the Bulls won another penalty for a rare infringement at the breakdown by the Stormers. Again Morne made no mistake. 5 minutes later and the Bulls were awarded yet another kickable penalty, this time through dominance in the scrum. 9 points to 0.
The Stormers wouldn’t let up and played themselves into the Bulls half to win a penalty through ill-discipline by the Bulls at a breakdown. For the second time in the match Elton Jantjies missed the shot at goal. 2 minutes from half time the Stormers’ momentum won them yet another attempt at goal… Elton’s radar was still way off course. The half time score Morne Steyn 9 – Elton Jantjies 0.
Third 20: 7.5/10
From the kickoff the Stormers put together one of their most urgent attacking passages of the match and were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty after 10 phases as the Bulls illegally slowed the ball down at the breakdown. Moments later, 0 from 4 attempts for Jantjies. The Bulls then hit back eventually winning a kickable penalty through superiority in the scum. Steyn stepped up and showed Jantjies yet again how things are done.
From the restart the Stormers continued in their rich vein of momentum earning yet another penalty hough ill-discipline by the Bulls at the break down. This time they rightly turned down the shot at goal as Jean de Villiers finished brilliantly to score in the corner. Substitute Joe Pietersen stepped up and nailed the conversion from the touch-line. The score now 12 – 7. The Stormers kept the pressure on winning a shot at goal after 5 minutes of their best attacking play of the match. Joe Pietersen made it 2 from 2. Now 12 points to 10!
The Bulls soon hit back with the match now becoming an end to end affair. They converted this into three more points through Morne Steyn. The Stormers had been forced into error due to the pressure under which their defence had been subjected. Over the next few minutes the Bulls kept up their momentum and won another penalty at the breakdown due to ill-discipline through captain Jean de Villiers. Morne Steyn did the rest. Now 18 points to 10.
Fourth 20: 7.75/10
Going into the final 20 minutes the Bulls maintained control of proceedings through relentless attacking play. The Stormers’ defence however remained resolute even following a few injuries to key players including Pat Cilliers. The scrums were ruled uncontested for the remainder of the match. In the heat of the longest period of attacking play for the Bulls Francois Hougaard did an opportunistic grubber into the Stormers’ in-goal area to be dotted down by none other than Chiliboy Ralepelle. Daylight between the sides for the first time in the match, the score being 25 points to 10.
In a last gasp attempt the Stormers took the ball through around 20 or so phases before Andries Bekker finally broke a tackle to get over the line. The final score 25 – 17.
A defensive master-class from both sides. The Bulls’ dominance in the set-piece and their more accurate kicking for goal was the difference in this very physical and highly competitive South African derby.