Bulls inching up to Stormers

2012-07-02 00:00

THE Bulls inched closer to the Stormers on the SA Conference log as both teams won their first Super Rugby matches after the June Test break.

The Stormers beat the Lions 27-17 at Newlands, but only took four log points out of the encounter.

The Bulls gained five as they scored six tries in their 40-24 victory over the Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld. The visitors never gave up and outscored their hosts by 24-0 in the final 20 minutes of the match after the Pretorians “won” the first hour 40-0.

Peter Grant (Stormers, 100 season points), Morné Steyn ( Bulls, 200 season points) and Wynand Olivier (Bulls, 100 appearances) all reached milestones on Saturday.

The Sharks, who collected four log points for their second bye of the season, slipped back from seventh to eighth on the combined log.

Stormers 27 (13) Lions 17 (3)

The Stormers were made to work hard for this victory against a spirited Lions side, the home team eventually winning by 27-17 at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

Yet again the Capetonians just could not find that attacking edge as ended up with three tries — amazingly enough only the second time this season they’ve scored that many (the Stormers also got three tries in their first round win over the Hurricanes).

The Stormers’ defence was solid, as it had been all season, but the Lions managed to find holes after the break and ended up drawing level in the second half 14-14.

The home team only managed to put a proper gap between themselves and the visitors on the scoreboard in the final 10 minutes when Jebb Sinclair and Gerhard van den Heever added tries to Gio Aplon’s first-half five-pointer.

But at one stage after the break Stormers fans would’ve been chewing their nails as the Lions fought back to 13-10 thanks to a good try by their captain, Josh Strauss. Franco van der Merwe added a second late in the match to bring the visitors to within 10 points.

Peter Grant’s personal haul of 12 points was enough to push the Stormers flyhalf past 100 season points — the 10th player in 2012 to reach a century of Super Rugby points.

SCORERS

Stormers — Tries: Gio Aplon, Jebb Sinclair, Gerhard van den Heever. Conversions: Peter Grant (3). Penalty goals: Grant (2).

Lions - Tries: Josh Strauss, Franco van der Merwe. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalty goal: Jantjies.

Bulls 40 (26) Cheetahs 24 (0)

With the platform laid in the tight phases, the Bulls recorded their ninth straight Vodacom Super Rugby victory over the Cheetahs when they won 40-24 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday evening.

With 20 minutes to go in the match, the Bulls were well ahead, by 40-0, after they had crossed the visitors’ tryline six times — four of those in an 18 minute blitzkrieg in the first half to secure the bonus point.

Even though they started the second half as slowly as they did the first, they still added two tries between minutes 55 and 60, before Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made a raft of replacements.

That not only cost the home team their rhythm, but also gave the Cheetahs some impetus to start playing with more attacking flair. In the final 20 minutes, the visitors crossed for four tries to give the final scoreline more balance.

However, it has to be said that the Bulls never looked like losing after they lead by 26-0 at the break.

Wynand Olivier could celebrate his 100th Super Rugby appearance with some champagne while Morné Steyn became the first player this season to pass 200 points. And four of the 10 tries at Loftus Versfeld were scored by props — Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger of the Bulls got one each while WP Nel, who came on as a replacement for the Cheetahs, scored a brace.

SCORERS

Bulls - Tries: Pierre Spies, Zane Kirchner, Dean Greyling, Francois Hougaard, Werner Kruger, Bjorn Basson.

Conversions: Morné Steyn (5).

Cheetahs - Tries: WP Nel (2), Willie le Roux,

Heinrich Brüssow. Conversions: Sias Ebersohn (2).

OTHER RESULTS

Highlanders 21 Chiefs 27 (Dunedin)

Rebels 17 Reds 32 (Melbourne)

Crusaders 22 Hurricanes 23 (Christchurch)

Force 17 Brumbies 28 (Perth)

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