Stormers happy with good start

FILE PICTURE: Duane Vermeulen of the Stormers gets past Piet van Zyl of the Bulls during the Super Rugby match between Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers at Loftus (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

FILE PICTURE: Duane Vermeulen of the Stormers gets past Piet van Zyl of the Bulls during the Super Rugby match between Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers at Loftus (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is delighted about his team’s successful start to the season with a 29-17 rout of the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

However, he warned that it was only the beginning of a long Super Rugby season.

“It is a very good start for us and I maintain that it is never easy to come here and win, that is why we have so much respect for the Bulls,” Coetzee said after the match.

“We had to turn up and give our best performance, so I am really proud of the team and especially the youngsters that came out and put their hands up.

“It is only the first match of the competition and we are not going to get carried away by this, we have the Blues next week at home and that is how you roll in this competition and start all over again.”

The visitors managed to break the Bulls’ proud unbeaten record at home with the hosts suffering their first home defeat since their semi-final loss to the Brumbies back in 2013.

The Stormers continued a trend on the opening weekend of the competition with seven of the eight matches going the way of the visiting team.

Starting the match with a bang thanks to a pushover try to Bulls flanker Deon Stegmann in the fourth minute, the momentum soon swung the way of the Capetonians as they scored thanks to a Dillyn Leyds try four minutes later.

The Bulls’ scrum woes would have the greatest impact on their game with tighthead prop Werner Kruger leaving the field due to an ankle injury in the 14th minute and Trevor Nyakane shifting from loosehead to bind out of place on the other side.

The Stormers opened a 12-point lead going into the second half thanks to a converted Duan Vermeulen try and a Catrakilis penalty conversion.

Coetzee said having the Bulls’ number at the scrum had a major impact on the game and added that it was a facet of play that received a lot of attention during the pre-season.

“We put a massive focus on our scrummaging in the off-season and Matt Proudfoot did extremely well,” Coetzee said.

“We are really pleased tonight with even the young props that came on in the last 20 minutes to do their job.”

The Bulls found some composure in the second half as they got within three points of the visitors courtesy of four Handre Pollard penalty conversions.

The hosts, however, lost possession at crucial periods with the Stormers being a menace at the breakdowns.

“I am proud of the leadership because I haven’t seen a Stomers team so clinical in the last 15 minutes like we’ve been tonight,” Coetzee said of his team’s ability to absorb the pressure.

“It is always field position here, territory is massively important in Super Rugby, you cannot score tries from 50, 60, 70 metres out,

“You’ve got to be in the opposition’s half and that was the difference between the two sides, we were clinical in exiting our half and putting pressure on the Bulls when we got into their half.” Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said two crucial turnovers against them when his charges were getting the upperhand proved to be the deciding blow to their fightback.

“I thought the second half we almost got back into the game converting some points where we got within three points,” Ludeke said.

“One or two big moments turning us over at the breakdown, which I thought was telling, it is a pity and not the way you want to start.

“But credit to the Stormers, they applied pressure, they were clinical and they converted their opportunities.”




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19 January 2019 TURFFONTEIN

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