Stunning win for Stormers

The Stormers reverted to playing the percentages at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, and the result was a stunning win for a young team against a Springbok-studded Bulls unit.

The Cape side lived up to captain Duane Vermeulen’s grim assertion last week that the Stormers would play winning rugby.

The captain was in the vanguard for the famous 29-17 win and he never lost focus on what was most vital – taking points when the opportunity was there and playing in the right areas of the field.

There is an obsession in Cape Town at times to see the team running ball from everywhere in an attempt to entertain.

Even coach Allister Coetzee fell into that trap last season.

But the coach is moving on to Japan at the end of the campaign and he does not have to pander to public sentiment.

So he has reverted to minimising risk. Winning is all that counts and in Vermeulen he has a captain who understands the value of territory in an increasingly suffocating game.

“You seldom score tries from 60 to 70 metres out; it’s all about field position,” Coetzee said. “You have to be in the opposition’s territory and we were clinical in exiting and from there we were able to put pressure on them.

“You take the points when they’re on offer. We would like to score more tries but we had opportunities and that’s important.”

Winning at Loftus in week one was a massive statement.

The Bulls had not lost on home ground since the 2013 semifinal – ironically a day when they chose to punt several kickable penalties to touch instead of taking the points.

It was the direct opposite of what the Stormers did on Saturday.

-Craig Ray

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