Pretoria - The Bulls have turned around a 12-point deficit in the first quarter of their match against the Stormers to come out 28-12 victors at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
As it happened: Bulls v Stormers
The victory kept the home side's hopes alive of reaching this year's playoffs as they were launched into eighth place on 28 points, eight points adrift of the log-leading Sharks.
The visitors, who have in recent years come under severe scrutiny for their defence-oriented gameplan, demonstrated their capabilities on attack.
They opened the scoring with two superb tries which stemmed from turnovers and displayed some crisp handling skills.
The Stormers terrorised the home side at the breakdowns in the opening exchanges with openside flanker Nizaam Carr the main instigator.
The first try came in the 10th minute from a Carr turnover, which saw the ball go wide to Schalk Burger, who offloaded to Cheslin Kolbe.
Kolbe passed the ball to a sidestepping Juan de Jongh, who beat his immediate defender to send Kurt Coleman over the line. He converted his own five-pointer.
Eight minutes later, the Bulls were again huddled behind the posts after De Jongh stepped his way over the tryline after the hosts conceded a turnover to Scarra Ntubeni. Handre Pollard missed the conversion.
The Bulls remained calm despite being down 12-0 with only 20 minutes gone in the first half of the match.
In typical Bulls style, they slowly chipped away at the Stormers' lead as Pollard kept the scoreboard ticking over with his deft place kicking.
Pollard scored his side's first points of the match in the 23rd minute through a penalty conversion before he added a drop goal two minutes later.
While the Bulls forwards administered the slow poison with increasing dominance up front, Pollard accepted the role of sniper.
The sharp-shooting Pollard added two more penalty conversions in the final 10 minutes of the half to level the scores at 12-12 going into the half-time break.
The second half was a one-sided affair as the Bulls took the lead for the first time in the match. Pollard succeeded with a penalty goal two minutes after the restart before he extended the lead by six points in the 55th minute.
The hosts finally found proper passage over the Stormers' rock-solid defensive line when Bulls scrumhalf Francois Hougaard put a clever grubber kick through for a chasing Akona Ndungane.
The 32-year-old Ndungane showed he still had plenty of pace left in his legs as he first put the ball on the left boot before winning the foot race against a chasing bunch of youngsters to score the try, with Pollard converting.
Eleven minutes before the end of the match, Jacques-Louis Potgieter slotted a penalty to hand his side a commanding 28-12 victory.
Try: Akona Ndungane
Conversion: Handré Pollard
Penalties: Pollard (5), Jacques-Louis Potgieter
Tries: Kurt Coleman, Juan de Jongh
15. Jurgen Visser, 14. Akona Ndungane, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Jan Serfontein, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Handré Pollard, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Grant Hattingh, 7. Jacques du Plessis, 6. Jono Ross, 5. Victor Matfield (captain), 4. Paul Willemse, 3. Marcel van der Merwe, 2. Callie Visagie, 1. Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Werner Kruger, 18. Morné Mellett, 19. Jacques Engelbrecht, 20. Wimpie van der Walt, 21. Rudy Paige, 22. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23. William Small-Smith
15. Jaco Taute, 14. Damian de Allende, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Peter Grant,11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Schalk Burger (captain), 6. Nizaam Carr, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Brok Harris
Substitutes: 16. Stephan Coetzee, 17. Alistair Vermaak, 18. Martin Dreyer, 19. Siya Kolisi, 20. Deon Fourie, 21. Dylon Frylinck, 22. Michael van der Spuy, 23. Devon Williams