CAPE TOWN – An early try from teenage flyhalf Damian Willemse laid the platform for the Stormers’ pulsating 29-17 victory over the Bulls in their South African Super Rugby derby on Saturday.
The victory maintained the Stormers’ 100 percent home record this season and kept alive their playoff hopes as they scored four tries to two against the improving Bulls.
Prop Wilco Louw, fullback SP Marais and hooker Ramone Samuels also crossed the line for the home side while lock Lood de Jager and flanker Jason Jenkins scored tries for the visitors.
“It was a good day for the team, the things we spoke about in the week came together like we wanted,” Stormers captain Siya Kolisi, playing in his 100th Super Rugby game, said at the post-match presentation.
“But there is still a lot we need to improve. We are never satisfied with our game and while we are going to enjoy tonight, our focus is the (Waikato) Chiefs match now.”
The Stormers made a fast start with two tries to fire up a vocal 30,000 crowd in Cape Town.
Willemse found the space to dot down after a period of pressure in the Bulls 22, before Louw barged over from close-range for the second.
The Bulls grew into the game and got their first score as De Jager ran on to a clever pass from flyhalf Handre Pollard to race through a gap.
When Pollard added a penalty, the score was 12-10 at halftime.
The Bulls dominated territory early in the second period and were rewarded when another clever running line from Jenkins saw him score under the posts to give the visitors the lead.
But the home side hit back as centre Damian de Allende set Marais free to score after excellent work in the ruck by Springbok lock Pieter-Steph de Toit.
Willemse extended the lead further with a penalty, before slick handling from the home side sent Samuels over in the corner.
“Hats off to the Stormers, they did well to cut off our set-piece and we couldn’t get any momentum,” Bulls captain Burger Odendaal said.