The cash strapped DHL Stormers marched to Pretoria and left with a well earned victory over the Blue Bulls in the United Rugby Championship clash yesterday. The Blue Bulls seem to have deep pockets since they accepted private investment, managing to lure a number of players back to Pretoria who had been plying their trade up North or somewhere similar.
In the last two years, the Bulls acquired the services of World Cup winning coach, Jake White. This was soon followed by an influx of playing personnel such as Bismarck Du Plessis, Morne Steyn, Johan Goosen, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee and Cyle Brink. The Bulls definitely boast great depth and a quality set of players, so much so that many (81% of our Superbru pool) called a victory for the men from Pretoria.
Someone forgot to tell the Stormers though, they arrived in the highveld ready to fight and fight they did. Their victory may have been secured by a late try from Paul de Wet, but the victory is one they can look back on happily. Most telling was that the Stormers managed to hold off a late Bulls fightback to secure the win. Former 7's star Seabelo Senatla also grabbed a brace to help his side, one off of a stellar grubber from Manie Libbok.
The fixture was a see-saw affair with the lead changing a number of times but many of the Stormers players shone on the day, with Evan Roos once again putting his hand up for higher honors with his powerful carriers and assertive defense. The Cape based side also secured the bonus point with their win outscoring their Pretoria counterparts 4 tries to 2.
If anything, the Stormers victory shows that money doesn't automatically translate to success and whilst they may still be reeling from the loss of stars like Siya Kolisi, Bongi Mbonambi and Pieter-Steph du Toit, they are still a formidable side. The Bulls have now lost two URC derbies on the trot, after succumbing to the Sharks in the final fixture of 2021 and will need to pick up the pace if they want to elevate themselves from the bottom of the log.
Money may give you the players, the coaches and the infrastructure, but the Stormers showed that it all comes down to who can perform on the day. The Bulls will travel to Ellis Park next week to face the Lions, whilst the Stormers head up the coast to Durban to face the Sharks at Kings Park.