Morne Steyn kicked the Bulls to a winning Super Rugby start as the hosts easily beat the Stormers.
The Bulls won 25-17 after leading 9-0 at half time.
A Loftus crowd of 44 272 watched the opening match to the South African season.
The match was poor in quality with both teams a mess in the line outs and ineffective on attack among the backs.
Defence was good and the physicality was, as always, prominent, but neither side threatened with ball in hand. The backs on both sides moved it too lateral and this was a match won in the trenches by the more dominant and composed pack.
The Bulls at scrum and in the collisions were the stronger and superior team, especially in the first 40 minutes. The go forward and momentum was with the Bulls for the majority of the match and despite a brief rally from the Stormers after half time the visitors offered little.
Stormers captain Jean de Villiers admitted afterwards the better team on the night had won and that the Stormers had been forced into too many mistakes.
Steyn, man of the match, kicked seven from seven, and impressed with a composed and mature tactical kicking game. Steyn, with his forwards in charge, controlled the game and the Bulls played the match in the right areas of the field.
There was very little flow to the game and it wasn’t helped because of periods in which there were uncontested scrums. This favoured the Stormers whose pack took a beating.
Elton Jantjies suffered in his debut for the Stormers and one felt for the young Bok flyhalf, who suffered the tragic loss of his father less than a month ago. Jantjies is an outstanding goal kicker with a Super Rugby career average of 80 percent, but his radar never functioned and he missed four successive penalty kicks. Joe Petersen was introduced for Gio Aplon and kicked all three efforts, but the match was one influenced by the Bulls forward effort and sealed by Steyn’s flawless goal kicking.
Steyn and Pierre Spies excelled for the hosts, and predictably Victor Matfield’s planning in combating Andries Bekker and the Stormers line out paid dividend. It was also aided by Deon Fourie’s experiencing a night at hooker the equal of Jantjies’s goal kicking.
Jean de Villiers was a strong presence for the Stormers and Bryan Habana’s night did not lack for effort. Siya Kolisi was the best of the Stormers loose-forwards but with the Bulls, as a unit, the more cohesive and impressive up front, Steyn was good enough to slay the Stormers.
By Mark Keohane