Bulls ease past WP
MATCH REPORT: The Blue Bulls got their 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division campaign off to the perfect start with a 45-26 bonus-point win over rivals Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
The home side looked dangerous throughout the 80 minutes with ball in hand as they outscored their opponents six tries to four.
One area of the game where the visitors did dominate was at scrum time, but that did not help their cause against a powerful Bulls outfit. However, they did secure a bonus point for scoring four tries after a late second-half fightback
After both teams took some time finding their feet, it was the Bulls who opened the scoring when flyhalf Tian Schoeman converted a penalty from straight in front of the WP polls in the seventh minute.
Robert du Preez had chance to level the scores a minute later with a penalty of his own. However, he could not find the direction from a long way out.
The game's first try came in the 19th minute from a brilliant turnover from the Bulls in their own half. The ball went wide to captain Arno Botha, who sprinted downfield before passing to scrumhalf Piet van Zyl for the score. Schoeman converted and after 20 minutes the Bulls were leading 10-0.
The home side then increased their lead again in the 32nd minute. After a quick throw in in the visitors' 22, lock Jason Jenkins bashed his way through the WP defence to score.
By this time the Bulls were playing with a lot of confidence and they were soon over the whitewash again when Jenkins' second-row partner Marvin Orie added his name to the scoresheet after a sustained attack in the Cape side's half. Schoeman converted again for a commanding lead.
It was more of the same in the second half with the home side scoring first. After a solid scrum in the WP half, the ball was sent wide and wing Jade Stighling found himself in acres of space to sprint away for his team's fourth try.
It did not take long for the Bulls' fifth try to come along with WP struggling on defence. This time it was the other wing, Jamba Ulengo, who rubbed some more salt in WP's wounds when he gathered a chip kick after a well-worked backline move to score under the polls. Schoeman converted and after 55 minutes the Bulls had a 38-point lead.
WP finally got their first points of the game in the 61st minute of the match when replacement back Johnny Kotze scored a try after a sustained period of attack in the Bulls' 22.
Despite the clock winding down, WP were not about to give up and they scored another two tries around the 70-minute mark through Leolin Zas and Huw Jones. Jones' score was a magnificent individual effort.
With less than four minutes left, Scott van Breda secured a bonus point for the Cape side when he went over for his team's fourth try after some great ball handling by the outside backs.
However, it was the home side who had the final say before full-time, when fullback Bjorn Basson eased over for his team's sixth try.
Man of the match: A number of Blue Bulls' could have gotten this award. However, lock Marvin Orie was simply outstanding all around the park - with ball in hand and on defence.
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Van Zyl, Jenkins, Orie, Stighling, Ulengo, Basson
Cons: T Schoeman 6
Pen: T Schoeman
For Western Province:
Tries: Kotze, Zas, Jones, Van Breda
Cons: Thomson 3
Blue Bulls: 15 Bjorn Basson, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Entienne Swanepoel, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Nqoba Mxoli, 18 Eli Snyman, 19 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Dan Kriel.
Western Province: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Khanyo Ngcukana, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Jacques Vermeulen, 7 Jurie van Vuuren, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 JP Smith, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Godlen Masimla, 21 Brandon Thomson, 22 Johnny Kotze.
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Vusi Msibi, Jaco Pretorius
TMO: Johan Greeff