CAPE TOWN - The Bulls defended brilliantly in the final 10 minutes to secure a 20-16 victory over the Stormers in their Rainbow Cup SA fixture at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
In a tense few final minutes, the Bulls brilliantly contested the Stormers lineout - something they had done throughout the game - to secure the ball and kick it out to end the game.
In a physical contest, the Stormers owned the scrums, used the kick chase really well to work up field, and played their part in an intense breakdown battle, but they will have to improve if they want a chance in the competition.
Abner van Reenen, who came in for Kade Wolhuter after the young flyhalf sustained a knee injury against the Sharks that will keep him out for the remainder of the season, had an early shot at goal after a Bulls high tackle, but he sent it wide.
Van Reenen had a few shaky moments in the first half, like the two awkward kicks to touch he was guilty of early on, and it didn’t get any better as the game progressed.
Overall, his performance in the No 10 role was one that won’t contribute to any good sleep John Dobson may have this weekend. His halfback partner, Godlen Masimla also struggled with some basics in the opening half.
Bulls veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn also set up the tee in the first quarter but, just like Van Reenen, missed a relatively straightforward kick at goal.
The Bulls orchestrated a beaut of a try after a quick tap by the hosts was followed up with a counter-attack, which saw them swiftly work the ball through the hands to Madosh Tambwe out wide, who sliced through the Stormers’ half and beat a few defenders to score the opener.
The Stormers got their first try after No 8 Evan Roos dived over, and while it was referred to the TMO after it looked as though he was held up, the try was awarded and the scores levelled.
After a Captain’s Challenge by Bulls No 8 Duane Vermeulen - who slotted in seamlessly after missing out last week due to injury - the Stormers went down to 14 men when their captain, Steven Kitshoff was yellow-carded for taking an elbow to Steyn’s throat.
The Bulls looked threatening during this period and made proper use of their numerical advantage when Steyn sent a cross kick to Tambwe, who then ran in his second in similar fashion to his first.
The second half was a quiet one in terms of points, with both teams adding two penalties each after the break.
A Captain’s Challenge by the Stormers around the 70th minute saw the Bulls’ Nizaam Carr sent off with a yellow card, but the visitors’ solid defence prevented the hosts from capitalising.
Stormers - Tries: Evan Roos Conversions: Abner van Reenen Penalties: Van Reenen (3) Yellow card: Steven Kitshoff.
Bulls - Tries: Madosh Tambwe (2) Conversions: Morne Steyn (2) Penalties: Steyn, Chris Smit Yellow card: Nizaam Carr.