The DHL Stormers kicked-off their 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby pre-season preparations with a hard-fought 26-19 victory over the Bulls at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday.
The visitors scored four tries to three, with flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis (who scored one of their tries) converting three of the DHL Stormers’ five-pointers.
Flanker Siya Kolisi scored two tries – both from mauls – either side of half-time, as the DHL Stormers clawed their way back from a 5-12 deficit at the break to come away with the win in front of a rugby-mad Polokwane crowd.
Kolisi’s second try, in the 44th minute, saw the scores draw level at 12-12, before the home side led by 19-12 going into the final quarter.
However, Catrakilis’ try – from a powerful Stormers scrum – saw the visitors draw level yet again before new boy Scott van Breda (who came on as a replacement) scored in the right-hand corner with two minutes left on the clock.
Replacement Gary van Aswegen converted from out wide to give his team a seven-point buffer as the clock wound down and it proved enough in the end for the Men from Cape Town.
The Stormers will travel to Port Elizabeth next Friday to take on the Kings, before wrapping up their pre-season preparations with matches against Boland in Wellington on Saturday, February 15.
For the Vodacom Bulls:
Tries: Greyling, Spies, Botha
Cons: Fouché 2
For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: Kolisi 2, Catrakilis, Van Breda
Cons: Catrakilis 2, Van Aswegen
Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: Bandise Maku, Marcel van der Merwe, Hencus van Wyk, Jono Ross, Rudi Paige, Handré Pollard, Ulrich Beyers, Travis Ismaiel.
DHL Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger (vice-captain), 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, Oli Kebble, Alistair Vermaak, Jean Kleyn, Michael Rhodes, Nizaam Carr, Nic Groom, Gary van Aswegen, Scott van Breda, Ryno Eksteen, Deon Fourie.
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe