Stormers romp home at Newlands

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The new rule in Super Rugby with regards to bonus points - where a team needs to score three tries more than the opposition - helped the Stormers as they dotted down thrice, with the Bulls only mustering three penalties through flyhalf Francois Brummer.

The Stormers were stuck in second gear for most of the first 40 minutes as they battled to generate continuity in their attacking play. Flyhalf Robert du Preez - who won the Man-of-the-Match award for his 23-point haul - stuttered along as he stood too deep in the pocket, and didn’t line-up flat enough on the advantage line.

That made him an easy target for the Bulls’ rush defence, and resulted in a number of aimless tactical kicks downfield.

But the spark for the Stormers came with the opening try by Du Preez, when captain Juan de Jongh stepped beautifully to his inside to give his team some go-forward inside the Bulls 22. The ball was spun quickly to the left, where No 8 Nizaam Carr timed his pass to perfection as he put Du Preez into space to dive over.

It was almost as if that touchdown flicked a switch for the Stormers. Coach Robbie Fleck has spoken all pre-season long about how his team want to improve their attack, and while there was little evidence of that in the first half, it certainly came through after the break.

Suddenly the main instigators such as De Jongh, Carr, Cheslin Kolbe and Dillyn Leyds got their hands on the ball more often, while Du Preez used his size and speed to test the Bulls defence.

The introduction of JC Janse van Rensburg and Frans Malherbe for the final quarter also solidified a Stormers scrum that had a tough time against the all-Springbok Bulls front row of Trevor Nyakane, Adriaan Strauss and Marcel van der Merwe.

But the Stormers clinched victory when Kolbe surged down the right-hand touchline, replacement wing Leolin Zas did the same on the left, and Malherbe punched a hole inside the Bulls 22 to set Eben Etzebeth, who took three defenders with him over the tryline.

That started the scramble for the bonus point, and it duly arrived a few minutes before the end when the Stormers pack mauled a lineout from the Bulls 22, and rammed forward like a freight train to help Scarra Ntubeni dot down.

Points Scorers:

Stormers - Tries: Robert du Preez, Eben Etzebeth, Scarra Ntubeni. Conversions: Du Preez (3). Penalties: Du Preez (4).

Bulls - Penalties: Francois Brummer (3).

ashfak.mohamed@inl.co.za

@IndyCapeSport

Independent Media

Original source: Stormers romp home at Newlands

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