Storm­ers soar to quar­ter­fi­nals in game full of tries

CityPress - - Sport - SIMNIKIWE XA­BAN­ISA sports@city­press.co.za

Bulls (21) 33 – Storm­ers (22) 41 The Storm­ers’ away win over the Bulls in their fi­nal Su­per Rugby con­fer­ence game means they get to test the im­prove­ment to their game with a home quar­ter­fi­nal against the Chiefs next week – a team that put 60 points on them at the same stage of the com­pe­ti­tion last year.

By fin­ish­ing top of Africa Con­fer­ence 1, the Storm­ers draw the same team that has made a mock­ery of their ti­tle cre­den­tials. But, this time around, they go into the clash hav­ing beaten the Chiefs in the one game they’ve con­tested this year.

The match had a Bar­bar­ians feel to it with both sides com­bin­ing to score six tries (three apiece) in the first half.

It was the Bulls who scored first through lock Ja­son Jenk­ins af­ter thrusts by fel­low for­wards RG Sny­man (lock) and flanker Abongile Nonkont­wana.

The Storm­ers’ re­sponse, through wee Ch­es­lin Kolbe, was a case in point for a de­fence that took its cue from the Baabaas na­ture of the game. Kolbe beat six de­fend­ers through a com­bi­na­tion of his usual dev­as­tat­ing step­ping, lit­er­ally duck­ing un­der their armpits en route to his score.

Those kinds of lapses in de­fence would come back to haunt the Bulls af­ter they’d scored two more tries – by the worka­holic Dun­can Matthews and Jesse Kriel – to go 21-12 up, but they re­lin­quished that lead in no time.

A sign of the free room to roam was shown by the fact that winger and sev­ens star Se­abelo Se­natla had the most space to run he has had since com­mit­ting to 15-man rugby. And it was Se­natla’s mazy run that led to full-back Dil­lyn Leyds’ try in the 34th minute, which saw the vis­i­tors hit the front for the first time in the game.

Leyds would prove to be the Bulls’ tor­men­tor-in-chief on the day from full­back, carv­ing them up through a com­bi­na­tion of his nifty foot­work and un­der­rated out-and-out pace.

Lock Eben Etze­beth did the same from a phys­i­cal per­spec­tive, while rookie fly half Damian Willemse looks more at home at this level with each pass­ing week.

With the game close be­cause the Bulls had re­solved to fight fire with ex­pan­sive fire, it was silly of them to give the Storm­ers a leg up through prop Con­raad van Vu­uren’s yel­low card for a high tackle on Leyds.

As dis­ci­plinary lapses go, it was one that cost the hosts 12 points – through cap­tain Siya Kolisi and Willemse’s tries. There was a brief flut­ter by the hosts as they scored twice again, but the mo­men­tum had been handed over.

Other re­sult: Sharks 10-27 Lions

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