The Vodacom Stormers suffered a disappointing 49-12 defeat to the Bulls in their Vodacom Super 14 match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Stormers started off quite well and scored a brilliant try by Brent Russell in the 4th minute, but at halftime they were lagging behind 18-7.
The powerful pack of the Bulls was the big difference between the two teams and the tries the Bulls scored through their juggernaut eight just before and after halftime basically killed off the game as a contest.
The first one – scored by flank Wikus van Heerden – came about after the Bulls kicked for possession after the Stormers were penalized. They just muscled their way over the try-line in a brilliantly executed rolling maul.
Then just after halftime they mauled from the Stormers 22m line in an awesome display of power and control by their forwards. Prop Gurthro Steenkamp then took the ball up to five metres out and from there on in there was no stopping hokker Gary Botha, who dotted down.
That made the score 25-7 and left the Stormers with a mountain to climb to get back into contention. The game was settled in the 48th minute when the Stormers recklessly attacked from close to their own try-line.
De Wet Barry was dispossessed in the tackle and the Bulls swooped on the loose ball before Wynand Olivier had a clean run to the try-line. The Bulls showed just why they are so difficult to beat at Loftus when Van Heerden and his team-mates again used their power to cross the opposition try-line a few minutes later.
The Stormers showed some fighting spirit when Dylan des Fountain – who replaced Russell in the 22nd minute – scored a great try after the Stormers turned over a ball from the Bulls (35-12).
Replacement loose-forward Pedrie Wannenburg hit what seemed like the final nail in the Stormers coffin when he scored under the poles in the 75th minute. Replacement flyhalf Morné Steyn converted to make the score 42-12.
There was more to follow though when replacement scrumhalf Heini Adams stole the ball under the nose of replacement Stormers No 8 Joe van Niekerk’s nose to score from a set scrum on the visitor’s try-line.
Bulls – Tries: Bakkies Botha, Wikus van Heerden (2), Garry Botha, Wynand Olivier, Pedrie Wannenburg, Heini Adams; Conversions: Derick Hougaard (2), Morné Steyn (2); Penalties: Derick Hougaard (2).
Vodacom Stormers – Try: Brent Russell, Dylan des Fountain; Conversions: Peter Grant (1).