Stormers end Bulls' slim play-off chances
July 5, 2014
Jaco Taute scored his side's only try at Newlands
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The Bulls' slim chance of snatching a place in the Super Rugby play-offs vanished in Cape Town on Saturday after a 16-0 defeat by the Stormers.
The three-time southern hemisphere provincial champions needed a win to have any hope of a top-six finish and inclusion in the knock-out phase. But they had no answer to the more committed and creative Stormers during the first half and turned over 16 points behind at a cold, wet Newlands stadium.
There were no points scored in the second half with Stormers fly-half Kurt Coleman coming closest through a penalty kick that rebounded off a post. This proved the only miss of the match by Coleman, who contributed 11 points from three penalty goals and the conversion of a try from full-back Jaco Taute.
It was the fourth win in a row by the resurgent Stormers, whose play-off dreams ended many weeks ago after a disastrous start to the 16-match league season.
The Bulls lost all eight away matches this season and the failure to score any points was deeply embarrassing for the most successful South African side in Super Rugby. Renowned for powerful packs, the visitors struggled at the scrums with loose-head prop Dean Greyling repeatedly penalised for illegal positioning.
The Bulls were unable to register a point against the Stormers (video available in Australia only)
A Bulls team wearing camouflage shirts were on the defensive from the kick-off and fell behind after five minutes when Coleman kicked his first penalty.
The lone try came on 14 minutes thanks to a midfield break by Coleman and flank Nizaam Carr carried the ball forward before sending Taute over. Coleman converted to give the Stormers a 10-point advantage midway through the opening half.
The Bulls became frustrated at being repeatedly penalised and veteran lock and skipper Victor Matfield argued with referee Craig Joubert after one decision. Coleman potted further penalties on 24 and 40 minutes as the Stormers maintained an iron grip on the game with the Bulls rarely threatening to score.
The visitors won far more possession during the second half and spent long periods camped deep in Stormers' territory. But they lack imagination, relying too often on over-hit kicks or trying to barge through an unyielding home defence.
The Stormers complete their season with a home match against South African conference winners the Sharks next Saturday. A day earlier, Bulls bring the curtain down on their campaign by hosting Australian strugglers Melbourne Rebels at Loftus Versfeld.