Bulls kickbait hooked Stormers

Ironically, former Stormers enforcer Duane Vermeulen’s term at the Bulls kicked off with a return to the tactics that made the Cape side serious contenders between 2010 and 2012.

The only carry-over from the preseason scrimmage between these teams at Cape Town Stadium was the Stormers’ misfiring lineout. A fortnight ago, the Stormers backed their defence for the win, but at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday it was the Bulls who invested possession in a kicking game, and then lined up on defence to counter from the inevitable turnovers.

In applying a proven formula, the Bulls made more kicks and tackles, and conceded more penalties; the Stormers made more carries.

The Stormers chose to split 115 possessions into 96 carries and 19 kicks; the Bulls kicked 36 of 103 possessions.

Bulls halfbacks Embrose Papier (10 kicks) and Handre Pollard (14) kicked twice as much as counterparts Jano Vermaak and Damian Willemse. And where Stormers fullback Dillyn Leyds ran for 96 metres and only kicked once for 45 metres, Warrick Gelant gained just 18 metres with ball in hand, but gave the Bulls 281 metres of field position through six kicks.

The folly of a plan built on running first and only kicking when there’s nothing else on is exemplified by the Stormers recording their lowest score against the Bulls in 32 matches dating back to 1996.

Conversely, the Bulls showcased the tactical efficacy of kicking on their own terms by scoring 40 points, with Super Rugby rookie Rosko Specman crossing for two of four tries.

A look at the match stats from Loftus Versfeld:

Match information:
Points: BUL 40-3 STO
Tries: BUL 4-0 STO
Penalty goals: BUL 4-1 STO
Goal kicking: BUL 100%-100% STO
Possession: BUL 46%-54% STO
Territory: BUL 47%-53% STO
Ball in play: 31 minutes

Attack Stats:
Ball Carries: 67-96
Metres run: 467-452
Metres per carry: 7-4.7
Line breaks: 4-1
Tackle breaks: 4-5
Passes: 101-139
Good Passes: 89-131
Offloads: 7-4
Rucks won: 50-81
Rucks lost: 2-5
Mauls won: 2-5
Mauls lost: 0-1
Turnovers conceded: 10-17

Defence Stats:
Tackles made: 133-72
Tackles missed: 13-13
Tackle success: 92%-87%
Tackle turnover: 2-1
Dominant tackles: 13-16

Kick Stats:
Kicks from hand: 36-19
Metres kicked: 1054-580
Metres per kick: 29-31 

Error Stats:
Handling errors: 16-15
Penalties conceded: 9-5
Yellow cards: 0-0

First Phase Stats:
Lineouts won: 12-12
Lineouts stolen: 3-0
Scrums won: 3-7
Scrums lost: 1-1
Own kickoff won: 0-1
Own kickoff lost: 2-8

— Staff Writer

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Wesley

    It may be a bit shallow a comment, but seems the kicking and defensive gameplan is again dominating the rugby landscape. All out attack once favoured from about 5 years ago, with NZ as the trendsetters, is being overtaken by the northern hemisphere, especially Irish and English, tactical advantages. The blueprint has been laid out and tested against NZ and has succeeded 2 out of 3 times (SA and Irish got it right, England got close) , now trickling down to unions adopting it from their national side. Based on what i saw with Cru VS Blu this weekend, they are not adopting that tactic and may fall short come finals time (at franchise and national level).

  • Barry

    The article focuses on match stats and in particular what the Bulls did right, but the individual stats tell what the Stormers did wrong.

    Jano Vermaak – passed 52 times, runs made “0”. Not a single snipe, how predictable is that.

    Damian Willemse – out of hand kicking already discussed passed 15 times…seems reasonable but see what happens with his service

    Damian De Allende – passed 3 times ran 7. So we’re back to bashing it up at 12. Same old same ol!

    R Nel passed once ran 3 made 6m! ! Not much point in taking along an 11 or 14, because they didn’t see any ball!

    Mbonabi & Schicherling woes at line out time already discussed, but this was the excuse offered for the loss of the Currie Cup final, so no progress. Though they were rewarded with a Springbok call up flowing from that so perhaps they figure more of the same needed?

    • boyo

      very good analysis thanks

    • Albert

      Good points Barry. I agree that perhaps it has become habit down at the Stormers. What is Paul Feeney doing? What are the coaches roles? Since Eddie Jones left, we have had nothing but confusion and poor excuses. I feel Robbie Fleck learned too much from A Coetzee, he instead says they just had an off day. Sound familiar? You don’t just have an off day if you get spanked like that. Sack all the coaches and management. SA Rugby to take over in emergency management and coaching capacity.

      • Greg Shark

        Eddie was only in Cape Town a couple weeks and no games played…..so I’d say its just carry like AC….

      • Barry

        Albert I think Feeney (if he’s still about) is doing much the same as he has over the past few years – talk a lot and do precious little!

  • Albert

    Well, I am sure many of us did not see such a hiding from the Bulls on the Stormers this weekend. we thought the Bulls would win, but maybe by a few points. Looking at the springbok laden Stormers team, that was humiliating and embarrassing. There can be only one solution: from the top right down, all needs to change. The systemic failures at the WPRU has trickled right down to the embarrassment we witnessed on the Weekend.

    However, this has far wider consequences than Bulls fans having bragging rights. If Rassie and co. don’t step in and help sort this problem out, it will impact the Boks. PSDT, Siya, Etzebeth, Kitshoff, Malherbe, Louw, De Allende, Willemse, Notshe, Mbonambi will all be at the World Cup this year. Rassie has invested too much in these guys and some of them were brilliant for the Boks last year. If these guys give zero effort as they did this past weekend, they will be just as bad in the World Cup. Rassie should go spend this week at the Stormers and get their minds right. Get some head coaches in this week as these guys confidence is going to be rock bottom.

    We need the SA teams to be good this year, we need confidence in our Boks to be able to beat NZ teams.

    • albert Hoffmann

      its simple, just pick the players who deserve to be there and not your old pals at the stormers who arent bok material at all. Except for psdt, the rest never show any form at all and dont deserve to be called boks.

    • Chris Mouton

      Willemse was nowhere during that game. He completely disappeared. That is extremely worrying for a player held in such high regard.

    • Greg Shark

      There are some great players in other unions but Rassie’s one eyed selection process will ensure that players from teams that get beaten 40-3 will dominate selection. De Allende, willemse, notshe, mbonambie (?) and siya will get selected ahead of any other to the detriment of Bok RWC chances….
      By contrast to bulls/stormers, very little has been written about the sharks demolition of sunwolves who in the last couple years have put ‘chest pouting’ RSA teams to shame…. there was some great rugby in that game…..

      • John Comyn

        Greg may I suggest you go to http://www.supersport.co.za. The leading story is mostly about the Sharks win.We are into the 1st game of the season and already the whining has started about who Rassie is going to select and how little publicity my side is getting bla bla. Hell we have even had someone suggesting Johann Rupert is selecting the boks!

    • Barry

      Albert, absolutely spot on. It has gone beyond just needing a few changes here and there and the stand off position of the various parties needs outside intervention to find resolve!

      Though rest assured that Remgro’s clout with SA rugby will again dictate that the Springboks will largely come from their sponsored unions Bulls and the 40m owed by WPRU, so a status quo in selection likely, regardless of performance! Maybe the players know this?

  • John Comyn

    “Though rest assured that Remgro’s clout with SA rugby will again dictate that the Springboks will largely come from their sponsored unions Bulls and the 40m owed by WPRU, so a status quo in selection likely, regardless of performance! Maybe the players know this?”

    I think, with immediate effect, The President should refer this to the Zondo commission for investigation. After this there can be absolutely no doubt Rassie is taking bribes from Johann Rupert and in fact it is Rupert who is selecting the Springboks!

    • Barry

      You are right John it is very early days indeed, but even as an ardent WP man you’ll have to agree that The Stormers have kicked off 2019 in much the same place as they left off in 2018, whilst by contrast, the other three Unions have shown encouraging signs!

      You only offer criticism of other people’s posts but offer nothing by way of constructive input. Where do you think the Stormers went wrong?

      It is well documented that Springbok selections were largely split amongst the Bulls and Stormers, with some very strange omissions. The only thing that connects these two Provinces is Remgro, so it is not beyond the realms of reasonableness to consider, what if, or how come?

      WPR owe Remgro 40m and if they call up their debt, WPRU will be gone and probably SA rugby with it. The two parties thus walk a very tricky path and are heavily indebted to Remgro for their continued future. If I was either of those parties, I would want to be keeping Remgro sweet!

      Clear enough John, or shel I draw a picture?

  • Dean Bright

    I wouldn’t read too much into this win by the Bulls. They are always good at home but travel very poorly. The Stormers have the best team on paper, but a clueless coaching staff. At the end of the comp it will again be the Lions and Sharks. The Lions win was massive in terms of the overall season. The Sharks looked well organized so I hope they can keep up the consistency.

  • SweetAz

    As a Province supporter all my life I must confess I didn’t bother watching this game, -I pretty much knew what was going to happen and people may recall I said as much on other articles about WP implosion. I will repeat,-the problem at WP is the exact same problem that is dragging the whole country down.

    The Tyranny of the Majority.

    Look it up, its an actual thing and stymies everything in SA. In WP case the majority is the myriad of amateur clubs banding together to form a majority even though they contribute and produce very little,—-sound familiar? This allows them to elect and employ incompetents in leadership positions and this filters down throughout the ranks.

    The only solution is for SANZAAR to change its constitution and totally privatize the Super Rugby competition in such a way that ANYBODY can start a franchise with no affiliation to any amateur, provincial or national union. As such, professional people can organize, fund and staff their franchises to make them successful. As such I guarantee that teams will have only the best players they can afford.

    By the way,–I also stopped watching the Sharks game after 20 minutes as it looked like they were going to lose as well, so I’m not sure what all the hoopla about the Sharks is,—I suspect the Sunwolves just got tired.

    • Barry

      It is early days but I can tell you that I was more encourage by what I saw coming out of the three SA franchises than any of the NZ sides! The Crusaders in particular looked seriously under done!

      It is well and good blaming everything at the Stormers on their administrative structures and this certainly has much to do with their financial woes, but let’s be honest good rugby men do their talking on the field. The stats I highlighted above will tell you that they are in urgent need of a proper Coach!

      So what do they do, well they fire the only guy in their coaching structure with any coaching pedigree. Paul Treu May not be on everyone’s favorites list, but he does have a World Cup to his credit, its a lot more than the others bring to the table quite frankly!

    • Johan

      You should have kept watching, the Sharks were a bit rusty in the first 20, but as time passed the got warmed up and played really good rugby.

      Off course the quality of opposition isn’t the best, but the Sharks ran good lines, defended well and played generally good rugby.

      • Barry

        Johan agreed, I wouldn’t worry about the comments too much, Sweet is a bit sour at the moment over the Stormers drubbing, he’ll come around!

        The Am/ Nkosi try initiated by Du Preez and Schroeder, must surely have been the try of the weekend?

        • Chris Mouton

          It’s between that try and the first try from Specman. That side-step defied physics…

        • SweetAz

          Not sour at all, I hope ALL the SA franchises do well,-even the kittens, I was just commenting on what I saw and really the first 20 minutes the Sharks did not look good, I was tired and not that invested as it was late at night here and I had already watched two games, but I’m happy for them. I did watch the Lions game and thought they played the most “domkrag” of all the SA franchises this weekend. In fact, I don’t think they had a single backline try and their backs looked very disorganized. I do think the Stormers made a serious mistake in letting Carlu Sadie slip through their fingers, he was probably the best Lions forward.
          I really don’t have any expectations of the Stormers, I do support them but its a bit like being an ex-South African. It’s not something you brag about, LOL. You realize they are so handicapped that there’s not much chance of anything good coming out of them. Look, I don’t think Fleck is a good coach but the players won’t play for Treu, we’ve seen it time and time again at franchises where unhappy player groups don’t perform for one coach and then the very next year are superstars with a different coach,—case in point the Hurricanes and I suspect this year the Blues are going to cause some upsets as well. The Stormers REALLY need an Eddie Jones, Gatland, or some other recognized coach from OUTSIDE the WP system that hasn’t been tainted by the faction fighting. At the moment its all politics and the factions are causing the problems. Fleck is delusional if he talks about “off days” at this level, in a North-South derby like this both teams should have been switched on, by the sounds of things the Stormers were drugged or just not interested.

          • Chris

            I actually think the Lions had a very effective gameplan. That Arg. side is basically a 90% international team and you have to play them like its a test. Especially away.

            Champion sides have the ability to mix up their gameplans. Its hard for a side to prep against a team that can switch it up like that.

  • Herman Schroder?

    Here we go again. All the hoopla on the teams that finished 11th and 12th on SR last year with an embarrassing amount of Springboks in their ranks who themselves did not make much improvement to the Bok cause last year. Rassie called it a ‘failure’ overall and with so much representation from these serial failure teams in SR who could have expected better.

    So the Sharks manage to hold onto a few passes ( for a change ) and pump the SR serial bottom dwellers and hey it’s ‘magnificent’ rugby ?. The Bulls did do a lot right but the Stormers were quite frankly piss poor. Apparently 12 Springboks in the match day squad indicative of just how poor Rassie’s Bok freebie handouts has lowered the Bok bar.

    Enter the Lions ( no surprise there ) lol. Fielding six newbies, playing last years quarter finalists on their home turf and breaking a three year hoodoo against what was effectively an Argentinian national side with 22 of the 23 man squad full internationals. This was probably the best achievement over the weekend by any team but true to form little mention by the local scribes. No problem we’ll fly under the radar again and take it a game at a time.

    No doubt this Saturday will bring it’s own surprises with the Sharkettes playing the Blues ( first real test ) the Bulls playing ‘Argentina’ ( should be interesting ) and the Stormers against the new look Lions. Let’s hope Sanzar appoints a ‘nuetral’ ref for this one and not Mr Peyper please. According to some of the posts on this site Rupert seems to be playing an integral part in the goings on at Newlands so we need a strong ref who will not be fazed by the home town effect. I’d give it to Nigel Owens if it was possible.

    On a positive note I do hope that all our Franchises come to the party this year. The Lions lone campaigns in years past was not made easier by our other three Franchises gifting points to the other Conferences with minimal effort. Let’s also hope that Rassie takes off his Stormers / Bulls blinkers and gives everyone a fighting chance of getting to the WC. We are in the 10th year since our last glory year in 2009 and we have absolutely nothing to show for it. We can only dream folks and only time will tell. Cheers.

    • Greg Shark

      drivel again…hermie you are like a child who can’t pass standard 3 (grade 5)……

      • Herman Schroder?

        Why ? Please elaborate. Cheers.

    • Chris Mouton

      My goodness Herman, surely you cannot be this biased? The game management of the Sharks against an ill-disciplined side bent on disrupting the game in the humidity of Singapore was superb. Trust me, Singapore is not a fun place to walk around in, let alone playing rugby! They managed to control the pace of the game and patiently worked until they could score their tries.

      The game management of the Bulls over a hapless Stormers side was refreshing to behold. They only recently got their coaching structures in place and that performance was compelling. The leadership shown by Pollard and Lood was outstanding. Kriel and Specman were brilliant as well.

      Let’s speak about your Lions. Finally you could break your duck against a Jaguares team where none of their passes worked out and they have a new coach. Congratulations. I especially loved the 3 tries produced by expansive, running rugby. Not an inkling of domkrag to be found. As for “flying under the radar”, there’s not a single scribe in the world that doesn’t think that the Lions aren’t the best SR team in SA. Yet, you’re so bent on protecting your precious Lions team from all criticism that you can’t even see the compliments and praise they’re getting. It’s peculiar seeing this victim mentality about a team that reached 3 SR finals in a row…

      • Herman Schroder?

        Chris just telling it like it is and comparing the significance of the Lions win as against the quality of the other team’s opposition. I thought this was an OPINION based forum ? The problem is the ‘haters’ are so used to being trampled that any mention of how the Lions performed is seen as bias. What rubbish. A case of the truth hurting perhaps ?.

        As for the Lions game plan well all they did is play smart rugby, no crime there. As I said 22 of the Jags squad of 23 had been blooded at international level. Admittedly the Lions backline did not perform to their normal standard but as a pipe opener it was just what the doctor ordered. Will be looking forward to how the Bulls cope there this weekend.

        As for the Sharkettes well your excuse about heat and humidity is a bit puzzling to say the least. Don’t the Sharkettes play in the same conditions at home ? Have they still not adapted to their home grown conditions. It was laughable that after they were pumped at home in years gone by the coach’s excuse was the humidity and slippery ball. Shouldn’t that be the excuse for the opposition ?

        As for the Bulls match I’m glad you said a hapless Stormers performance. Didn’t the Bulls have Springboks all over the park ? Beating a hapless side should be the order of the day. also remember a certain Bulls pipe opener against the Hurricanes last year before the wheels well and truly came off, lol.

        Predictably you ignore my final paragraph where I expressed the opinion that I hoped the other Franchises would come to the party this year in earnest. This was for the good of SA rugby by the way and to provide some real oomph to our SR cause. Like Australian teams most of the times our teams were seen as easy pickings by especially the NZ conference. To give the Sharkettes some due they did make a fist of it last year in this regard. Pity about the gross inconsistency though and the poor QF exit.

        As always I will respect your opinion. Cheers.

      • SweetAz

        ROFLPML—” I especially loved the 3 tries produced by expansive, running rugby. Not an inkling of domkrag to be found.”

    • SweetAz

      All Lions try’s from one guy and all from Domkrag rugby,—-LOL. Maybe that’s why nobody wants to write about them. They played uninspiring, unattractive, braindead rugby and WON. What happened to all that EXPANSIVE playing? What happened to that COMPLETE rugby?– PML, they only won because the Jaguares played exceptionally poorly.

      • Herman Schroder?

        Shame SweetAz is that your best shot ? Please read my response to Chris Mouton above.

        By the way thanks for finally telling us you are a Stormers supporter, it sure explains a lot about your Lions envy. Support the Lions and cure yourself. Cheers.

      • Greg Shark

        not to mention some key Jaguares players have left to play in Europe….

        • Herman Schroder?

          Greg, Wrong. Those players never play for the Argentinian team anyway. Only Sanchez has left to the best of my knowledge. Cheers.

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