The Bulls recorded a 28-12 win over the DHL Stormers at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday, with the Men from the Cape still in search of their first away win of the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
The DHL Stormers – with two starting debutants in the starting line-up and two first-timers on the bench – led 12-0 after 20 minutes and outscored their opponents by two tries to one on the night.
The game was all square at half-time at 12-12, but the home side managed to keep their opponents scoreless in the second half as the DHL Stormers were penalised on numerous occasions and the Bulls kickers between them did not miss one shot at goal.
The young DHL Stormers started like a house on fire, with early tries from Kurt Coleman and Juan de Jongh – both the scores could end up being contenders for Try of the Season so well-worked were they.
Earlier, Coleman scored right under the uprights shortly after the 10-minute mark, the ball having been stolen on the ground by the impressive Nizaam Carr, before Damian de Allende made some valuable ground in the middle of the field.
A clever Schalk Burger pass down the left found first-time starter Cheslin Kolbe, whose inside ball found a waiting Juan de Jongh who linked up well with a waiting Coleman, who promptly converted his own score.
With most of the team having handled the ball in the lead-up to Coleman’s five-pointer, virtually all 15 DHL Stormers players handled the ball in the build-up to De Jongh’s try in the left-hand corner.
It started again from a turnover and De Jongh tip-toed down the left-hand touchline and dived in at the corner – despite Kolbe being on his outside. Coleman could not convert this time, but at 12-0 the visitors would have been well pleased.
The Bulls, however, clawed their way back into the game via the boot of flyhalf Handré Pollard, who slotted one drop-goal and three penalties in the first half.
Pollard struck again early in the second half to hand the Bulls the lead – at 15-12 – for the first time in the match and he continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over at crucial moments in the second stanza.
A hack-ahead try from veteran Bulls winger Akona Ndungane with 14 minutes remaining gave the Bulls breathing space at 25-12 and replacement flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter landed a late penalty to stretch the Bulls’ lead to 28-12 going into the final ten minutes.
The young DHL Stormers – bravely led by Schalk Burger for most of the match – refused to give up, with Damian de Allende just losing the ball in going for the tryline, but they were unable to register any points in the second half.
For the Bulls:
Pens: Pollard 5, Potgieter
For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: Coleman, De Jongh
Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Morné Mellett, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Wimpie van der Walt, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23 William Small-Smith.
DHL Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Peter Grant, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger (captain), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Siya Kolisi, 20 Deon Fourie, 21 Dylon Frylinck, 22 Michael van der Spuy, 23 Devon Williams.
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Jaco van Heerden
TMO: Johan Greeff