The DHL Stormers started their 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign with a 37-24 victory against the Vodacom Bulls at DHL Newlands on Saturday.
By outscoring the visitors from Pretoria by five tries to four, the DHL Stormers got their season off to an encouraging start in front of an enthusiastic crowd at DHL Newlands.
The game started at a frantic pace, with the DHL Stormers taking the game to the visitor from the offset and running at every opportunity.
The pressure eventually told when a quick tap on their own 22 resulted in a try under the poles from fullback SP Marais following a flowing interchange to put them 7-0 up.
The DHL Stormers scrum was working well in the early exchanges and it was a powerful shove in the Vodacom Bulls 22 which resulted in a penalty from flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis to make it 10-0 after the opening 20 minutes.
They followed that up with their second try which came from another strong scrum deep in Vodacom Bulls territory. The ball was worked wide to debutant centre EW Viljoen, who put through a perfectly weighted grubber for Cheslin Kolbe to score in the corner.
They were not done there and there was still enough time for a third try before half-time as Nizaam Carr burst over to cap a period of pressure and send the DHL Stormers into the break with a 24-0 advantage.
The visitors struck first in the second half, with No.8 Hanro Liebenberg stretching to score in the corner, but the DHL Stormers hit back with a fourth try from captain Siya Kolisi who dived over in the corner after a run down the blindside.
The Vodacom Bulls responded with a try from prop Pierre Schoeman, who barged his way over from close range, before the DHL Stormers responded with a Du Plessis penalty.
A second try from Liebenberg cut the DHL Stormers lead to 32-17, but they hit back with a fifth try as Dillyn Leyds crashed over in the corner.
The Vodacom Bulls were reduced to 14 men when replacement prop Lizo Gqoboka was shown a yellow card for a deliberate infringement, but they would be last to score as scrumhalf Piet van Zyl scored at the death.
For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: Marais, Kolbe, Carr, Kolisi, Leyds
Cons: Du Plessis 3
Pens: Du Plessis 2
For the Vodacom Bulls:
Tries: Liebenberg 2, Schoeman, Van Zyl
Cons: Pollard 2
DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (vice-captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Rob du Preez.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Nick de Jager, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Trevor Nyakane , 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlelle, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Warrick Gelant.