The Bulls’ dominance of local rugby continued on Friday as they recorded a bonus-point 34-13 win against Western Province in a north-south Currie Cup derby.
With Springbok Marcell Coetzee back as team leader and new flyhalf Johan Goosen in splendid form, the Bulls took full advantage of a Province team that played without hooker Scarra Ntubeni for more than 40 minutes.
After a fairly even contest in the early stages the Bulls again showed how much quality depth they have and they remain the team to beat in South Africa.
While the game got off to an exciting start, over the course of the 80 minutes there wasn’t too much to shout about.
From the kick-off, the ball was taken through the hands and phases by the Western Province players and after a good charge by Johan du Toit to break the defensive line, scrumhalf Paul de Wet went over under the posts to open the scoring.
The Bulls though didn’t take long to strike back, young Richard Kriel going over after catching a well-weighted over-the-top pass by Goosen, who enjoyed another good outing for his new team.
While home team flyhalf Tim Swiel added two further first half penalties, the Bulls scored a second try through hooker Johan Grobbelaar, who collected the ball and charged over after WP hooker Ntubeni had missed his jumpers in the lineout.
A Goosen penalty put the visitors 17-13 up just before the break when the home team lost Ntubeni for the rest of the match after he was deemed to have gone high in a tackle.
Not long after the resumption of play, the Bulls went further ahead when Zak Burger scored a converted try and at 24-13 up the Bulls were very much in charge.
A Goosen penalty around the 70th minute extended the Bulls’ lead and when Cornal Hendricks went over for a well-taken try in the 75th minute it was game over.
Western Province never scored a point since the 27th minute – something that will be of major concern to the coaching staff.
Meanwhile, in the earlier game on Friday, the Pumas beat the Lions 36-33 to be very much in the mix for the semi-finals.
The men from Mbombela were twice reduced to playing with 14 men and came back from being 10-21 down at half-time.
The Pumas outscored the Lions five tries to four to leave the Joburg side with plenty to ponder.
In Saturday’s only game, the Sharks welcome Griquas to Durban.