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Ken Borland


Stormers gobble up their chances & stage late comeback to beat Bulls

Posted on February 17, 2022 by Ken

The Stormers were clinical in gobbling up their chances in the first half but looked like being overwhelmed by the Bulls in the second before they staged a late comeback to win 30-26 in their United Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Having surrendered an 18-0 lead and trailing 26-18 with 12 minutes remaining, replacement back Warrick Gelant inspired two breakaway tries that saw the Stormers snatch the spoils in the end.

The Stormers had raced into that 18-0 lead with a superb effort, their pack stepping up and dominating and flyhalf Manie Libbok pulling the strings well at flyhalf.

Wing Seabelo Senatla was dished up two tries by deft grubbers from Libbok, who also added two penalties.

With loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff feasting in the scrums, the Stormers were dominating that phase as well. But the momentum turned on a vital scrum decision just before halftime when Kitshoff was penalised for scrumming around the corner, which could have been a 50/50 call.

The Bulls kicked into the corner, piled on the pressure, forced a yellow card on flank Ernst van Rhyn, and then hooker Johan Grobbelaar scored from the rolling maul. Flyhalf Chris Smith’s conversion further ate into the lead as the visitors went into the break 18-7 up.

The second half was a bright affair as the Bulls dominated the third quarter with Morne Steyn coming on at flyhalf and provided a much-needed spark.

A dazzling move off a scrum, with many dummy runners involved, saw Steyn then pass inside to wing Madosh Tambwe, who came knifing through on the angle to score.

The sharp thinking of the veteran former Springbok flyhalf then led to another try just four minutes later. He tapped a penalty and ran, and then put in a big crossfield kick to wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, who fed scrumhalf Embrose Papier, who raced away for the try.

The Bulls were suddenly ahead 21-18 and matters looked even gloomier for the Stormers when Bulls eighthman Elrigh Louw powered through some lacklustre defence to score the home side’s fourth try.

But Gelant had arrived on the scene and began showing his immense talents. Shortly after the restart, he made a great break down the right and then put in a brilliant infield kick for scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies to score.

The Bulls lost Tambwe to a yellow card for an aerial collision just two minutes later, and it was down his wing that the Stormers surged, through Damian Willemse and Gelant, with Senatla also making some yards, before replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet rounded off the try.

A disappointing display by the Bulls, in which they only really caught fire for 20 minutes, was completed when Steyn, trying another crosskick after the final hooter, put the ball in touch as Tambwe did not have much space, the ball bouncing away from him as the Stormers defence converged.

Scorers

Bulls: Tries – Johan Grobbelaar, Madosh Tambwe, Embrose Papier, Elrigh Louw. Conversions – Chris Smith, Morne Steyn (2).

Stormers: Tries – Seabelo Senatla (2), Herschel Jantjies, Paul de Wet. Conversions – Manie Libbok (2). Penalties – Libbok (2).

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