DHL Stormers flashback: Here come the Men in Black

PUBLISHED: May 2, 2024

Led by the fearless Bob Skinstad and featuring Cape royalty in Breyton Paulse and Percy Montgomery, the DHL Stormers put the Vodacom Bulls to the sword at Loftus Versfeld in the 1999 Super Rugby season.

The Vodacom Bulls won the Currie Cup in 1998 against DHL Western Province and much was expected of the men from Pretoria, yet the DHL Stormers cruised to a 42-19 win over their old foes on the Highveld.

Left winger Pieter Rossouw scored two tries while flyhalf Braam van Straaten kicked 27 points as the Capetonians carved apart their hosts with panache and precision.

Robbie Fleck gathered a great chip-kick from Paulse to cross the whitewash for the DHL Stormers’ opening try in the seventh minute, before Rossouw notched up their second after showcasing his express pace and ball control.

The lanky speedster completed his brace in the second half following impressive interplay between forwards and backs, to cap off an emphatic victory that kicked off one of the most memorable campaigns in the history of the franchise.

Nicknamed the ‘Men in Black’ after the colour of their playing kit, the DHL Stormers looked set to clinch their first trophy when they won six of their first eight matches in 1999, including a win over the eventual champions, the Crusaders, at Newlands Stadium.

A home semi-final date with the Highlanders was set after the DHL Stormers finished second on the overall log, level on points with the table-topping Reds, but it was a fixture that ended in heartbreak for the franchise.

Blessed by the astute man management of head coach Alan Solomons, the skill of Skinstad, Montgomery, Paulse, Fleck and Rossouw and the power of Corne Krige, Selborne Boome, Charl Marais and Cobus Visagie, this was a DHL Stormers squad that definitely had the quality to win a title.