r first warm-up game for the Super 14 against the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday before losing 44-13.
The Vodacom Stormers put up a gutsy and passionate performance in thei
The Stormers, without several of their stars, restricted the strong Bulls side to a 15-13 lead at halftime. They were competitive until the last quarter of the game, when silly mistakes cost them dearly.
The young Stormers showed right from the start they meant business and took the more experienced Bulls head-on. The home side managed to disrupt the Bulls lineout – particularly in the first half – and also slowed their ball down at ruck-time.
The home team played second fiddle in the set scrums, but they were by no means disgraced.
The Stormers team underwent two late changes – inside centre Jacques Badenhorst and left wing Tonderai Chavhanga had to withdraw and were replaced by Gus Theron and Johan Pietersen.
Zhahier Ryland, who played in the curtain-raiser, came onto the bench in place of Pietersen. Those changes did not seem to appear to hamper the home side too much, as they were off to a very impressive start.
They took the ball through several phases before Bulls centre JP Nel was penalised for not using his arms in a tackle on new flyhalf Naas Olivier.
The Leopards youngster slotted the angled penalty kick in the 3rd minute to hand his side a 3-0 lead. Bulls flyhalf Derick Hougaard failed with a 47m-attempt two minutes later and soon afterwards also failed with an attempted drop goal.
In the 13th minute the Stormers stunned the Bulls when they turned over possession in a ruck, scrumhalf Paul Delport broke away before feeding fullback Justin Peach. The Boland star kicked ahead and beat the defenders to score the Stormers first try of the season.
Olivier showed he could be the solution to the Stormers goal-kicking woes by converting beautifully from the corner to make the score 10-0.
In the 18th minute Hougaard found his range, comfortably slotting a 35m penalty (10-3). It didn’t take the Bulls long too catch up with the Stormers. Olivier’s kick to restart the match went over the touchline and from the scrum the Bulls found gaps in the defence and No 8 Jacques Cronje scored under the posts.
Hougaard converted to make the score 10-10 after 22 minutes of action. Two minutes later, however, Olivier handed the lead back to the home side with a penalty (13-10).
The Bulls were on the receiving end of a great deal of luck in the 30th minute when Delport’s clearance kick from behind his own try-line was charged down and Bryan Habana dived on the ball to put his team in front again at 15-13.
The Bulls started to find their rhythm and their macro pack of forwards started to impose their authority on the game. Flanker Tim Dlulane was very unfortunate to lose the ball as he was driving over the try-line in the 35th minute.
Charl Blom got his Stormers debut at scrumhalf when he replaced Delport just before halftime.
The Bulls drew first blood in the second half. Poor ball control by the Stormers led to a breakaway try, with Habana showing off his lightning speed in beating Egon Seconds to the try-line after he collected a kick ahead from Gary Botha.
Hougaard failed with the conversion, but the Bulls were 7 points ahead at 20-13 in the 52nd minute.
Habana completed his hat-trick in the 65th minute with a trademark intercept try and got a fourth one in the 61st minute. Tim Dlulane helped himself to a five-pointer in the 64th minute, but Habana was not finished yet.
He cruised over for his fifth try in the 67th minute after a botched counter-attack from the Stormers from close to their try-line.
On Saturday, the Stormers tackle the Southern Spears at Wellington in their second and final friendly.
Vodacom Stormers – Tries: Justin Peach; Conversions: Naas Olivier (1); Penalties: Naas Olivier (2).
Vodacom Bulls – Tries: Jacques Cronje, Bryan Habana (5), Tim Dlulane; Conversions: Derick Hougaard (1), Morne Steyn (2); Penalties: Derick Hougaard (1).