Morne Steyn lead the way as the Bulls beat the Stormers 25-17 in Pretoria but Tank Lanning suggests that the game should not be kept on file for the rugby union marketing DVD.
Steyn landed all seven of his kicks and Chiliboy Ralepelle got over the whitewash for a 68th-minute try and that was all the Bulls needed to get past a Stormers side that looked particularly rusty.
It was always going to be a risk playing Elton Jantjies at flyhalf given that he has never played for either the Stormers or WP before, and it backfired spectacularly – with the former Lions pivot missing his first four kicks before Joe Pietersen took over.
Captain Jean de Villiers scored a 50th-minute try for the visitors after Bryan Habana cleverly kept the ball in play after coming desperately close to the line himself. Pietersen made it 12-10 and it looked like it was game on, even given the Bulls’ first-half dominance.
But Steyn’s accuracy was decisive and Ralepelle snapped up a loose ball close to the tryline to seal it before Andries Bekker’s late try (from outside centre, a position he is known to frequent) for the Stormers.
De Villiers said his Stormers had been “beaten by a better team on the day. Definitely a big wake-up call for us.”
Better team indeed, but it did not take much, and in comparison to the entertaining try-fest between the Chiefs and Highlanders, this game was akin to catching the proverbial grass growing extravaganza.
Set piece issues – the lineouts were abysmal, and they were forced into manipulating uncontested scrums given the heat they took in that area – put pay to any sort of contest from the Cape side. The coaching staff, seen to be disagreeing in the coaching box at one stage, will need several packs of Rennies to get through the video of the game.
On Jantjies’ poor debut, the Springbok and Stormers captain said: “He had an off-day with the boot. That happens.”
It may not have been pretty, but this gets the Bulls off to a more than solid start, and with Steyn dominating games like that with pinpoint accuracy via the boot, they will be very difficult to beat at Fortress Loftus.
BULLS: Chiliboy Ralepelle try. Morne Steyn 1 con 6 pens
STORMERS: Andries Bekker, Jean De Villiers tries. Joe Pietersen 2 cons 1 pen
Referee: Jaco Peyper.