Vodacom Super Rugby
Bulls begin with a bang
Morne Steyn (Gallo Images)
Pretoria - The Bulls opened their Super Rugby campaign with a solid 25-17 victory over the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.
Flyhalf Morne Steyn was the leading man in their victory, contributing 20 points to the Bulls' score with six penalty conversions and a conversion kick.VIDEO: Bulls v Stormers, highlights
The match was evenly poised, however the Bulls converted their scoring opportunities into points as Steyn was on target with his placekicking.
His counterpart Elton Jantjies
- playing in the Stormers colours for the first time - on the other hand struggled with his aim at goal.
The flyhalf, on loan from the Lions, missed three penalty kicks in the first half and one shortly after the restart.
The Bulls attacked the Stormers line with great intensity in the opening minutes of the match.
Steyn's accurate kicking out of hand also put the Bulls on the front foot as he forced the Capetonians to turn with kicks behind them.
While the hosts failed to convert their early advances into tries, Steyn obliged when he was asked to go for the three-pointer.
His drop in form in 2012 was a distant memory as he looked like the player of old, sending the ball through the uprights with pinpoint accuracy.
The hosts suffered from some early hiccups as hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle
struggled to find his jumpers.
They were also found wanting at the breakdown area where the Stormers slowed the ball down.
Both sides suffered injury blows in the first half as JJ Engelbrecht
, Werner Kruger
, Dewald Potgieter of the Bulls and Steven Kitshoff and Gio Aplon for the Stormers had to leave the field.
The Bulls went into the half-time break with a nine-point lead, which was extended by three points courtesy of Steyn's fourth penalty conversion.
The visitors, however, clawed their way back when skipper Jean de Villiers scored a controversial try in the 49th minute.Bryan Habana
got over the gainline but he was stopped short of the tryline, where a scramble for the ball ensued.
When the ball popped out, De Villiers pounced on it and dove over for the first try of the match.
With Jantjies having trouble with his kicking, Joe Pietersen
took over from him and converted the try to bring his team within five points of the Bulls.
Five minutes later Pietersen succeeded with a penalty conversion to diminish the Bulls' lead to two points.
However, Steyn once again showed his worth as he converted two penalties within four minutes.
The Bulls then all but wrapped the match up with hooker Ralepelle crossing the line after he collected a freakish grubber kick from Francois Hougaard
five metres from the line, with Steyn converting.
The Capetonians finished in a flourish when towering lock Andries Becker neatly stepped to the inside to beat his immediate opponent to score, with Pietersen converting.
Their efforts were in vain with the referee Jaco Peyper blowing the full-time whistle three minutes later.
Tries: Chiliboy Ralepelle
Conversions: Morne Steyn
Penalties: Steyn (6)
Tries: Jean de Villiers, Andries Bekker
Conversions: Joe Pietersen
15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Lionel Mapoe, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Wynand Olivier, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Pierre Spies (Captain), 7. Dewald Potgieter, 6. Deon Stegmann, 5. Juandre Kruger, 4. Flip van der Merwe, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1. Morné Mellett
Substitutes: 16. Willie Wepener, 17. Frik Kirsten, 18. Grant Hattingh, 19. Arno Botha, 20. Jano Vermaak, 21. Louis Fouche, 22. Francois Venter
15. Jaco Taute, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Jean de Villiers (Captain), 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Nick Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Frans Malherbe, 18. Don Armand, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Dewaldt Duvenage, 21. Gerhard van den Heever, 22. Joe Pietersen