VIDEO: Mitchell's Bulls show their class
PRE-SEASON REPORT: Bulls coach John Mitchell says he has his 'best 23' mapped out for their opening match of the 2018 Super Rugby season.
Mitchell was speaking after his squad - split in two distinct teams - powered past the Jaguares 21-12 in a pre-season hit-out at the Loftus Versfeld's B-field on Saturday.
He started the match with his 'fringe' players and a number of Springboks - including Jesse Kriel and Handre Pollard - were unleashed on the Argentineans in the second half.
Asked how close he is to is starting XV, for their opening match against the Hurricanes on February 24, Mitchell made it clear the second-half combination is close to the real deal.
"You don't have to be a mathematician or magician to see what was on the field [ion the second half]," Mitchell said.
"It is not far away, but obviously there were a few experiments in certain positions."
The Bulls raced into an early 14-0 lead.
Wing Andell Loubser scored the opening try - from a kick-pass by fullback Manie Libbok.
Marco van Staden burrowed his way over from a line-out drive.
Early in the second half a beautiful pass from Pollard put Kriel into a gap, with the midfielder throwing a dummy to beat the first defender before putting Warrick Gelant away for a well-worked try.
Julian Montoya and Javier Ortego Desio scored for the visitors.
Mitchell said he is happy with his team's build-up.
"It [the pre-season build-up] has gone to plan," Mitchell said, adding: "But we're not finished.
"We don't start the competition next week [Saturday, February 17]. We have another trial and when we start the competition [against the Hurricanes at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, February 24] we must ensure we are ready to go."
He said his preferred starting XV will get more time on the field in next week's internal trial.
"The second-half team needs more time on the field. They will get that next week."
Tries: Loubscher, Van Staden, Gelant
Cons: Libbok 2, Pollard
Tries: Montoya, Ortega Desio
Bulls: 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Francois Brummer, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Jano Venter, 7 Themba Bholi, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Lodewyk de Jager (captain), 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements - from: Warrick Gelant, Divan Rossouw, Jesse Kriel, Burger Odendaal, Johnny Kotze, Handre Pollard, Andre Warner, Hanro Liebenberg, Jason Jenkins, Roelof Smit, Rudolph Snyman, Conraad van Vuuren, Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman. Jan-Henning Campher, Matthys Basson, Lizo Gqoboka, Eli Snyman, Shaun Adendorff, Theo Maree, JT Jackson, Franco Naude, Andell Loubser.
Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Emiliano Boffelli, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Tomás Lezana, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Chaparro Tetaz, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Felipe Arregui.
Replacements - from: Julián Montoya, Nicolás Leiva, Javier Diaz, Juan Pablo Zeiss, Guido Petti, Marcos Kremer, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Leonardo Senatore, Martín Landajo, Juan Martín Hernández, Joaquín Diaz Bonilla, Santiago González Iglesias, Matías Orlando, Sebastián Cancelliere.