Jake White’s Blue Bulls ran in 12 tries as they beat Peter de Villiers’ EP Elephants in their Preparation Series clash at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday.
CAPE TOWN – While Bulls coach Jake White will be pleased with the depth he has at his disposal, Eastern Province counterpart Peter de Villiers will know his team have a long road ahead to become competitive after their 87-10 defeat at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday.
The Bulls ran in 12 tries to the lone Sithembiso Befile touchdown on a hot Pretoria afternoon.
The result was expected, but White should be satisfied with the work put in by his reserves in their Preparation Series opener as they gear up for the Rainbow Cup in April.
Some of the first-choices such as fullback David Kriel and wing Stravino Jacobs – who scored a brace – showed why they are part of the ‘A team’. White, though, will be delighted particularly by the performances of his props, Gerhard Steenekamp and Mornay Smith, who put in powerful shifts in the scrums, while also carrying the ball with vigour in open play.
Captain Nizaam Carr – who also got a double – and fellow flank Tim Agaba showed their class in guiding a relatively inexperienced pack, where young lock Janko Swanepoel again proved that he is ready for senior rugby.
White said after the opening quarter that he wanted his players to display more accuracy at the breakdowns after being penalised heavily by referee Stuart Berry, and to keep the ball alive instead of going to ground.
They managed to play with better continuity as the game wore on, and produced some wonderful tries, the best of which being arguably the one by inside centre Marco Jansen van Vuren.
The retreaded halfback provided the finishing touches, but the move saw loosehead Steenekamp and lock Swanpoel among the forwards who offloaded in the tackle.
Scrumhalf Embrose Papier was typically busy, keeping the EP defence engaged around the fringes, while he also set up a try with a quick tap penalty.
White would also have been happy with the Bulls scrum and especially the maul, which brought about a couple of tries as well, while flyhalf Chris Smith had a flawless day with the boot, slotting 10 out of 10 goal-kicks.
Among the replacements, scrumhalf Keagan Johannes caught the eye with his speed across the ground, which helped him grab a brace of tries as well.
But the truth is that the Bulls weren’t really tested by the EP Elephants. Flank CJ Velleman was a nuisance at times at the breakdown, but was blown up too often, while wing Josiah Twum-Boafo had a number of powerful surges and captain and flyhalf Inny Radebe produced a few classy touches.
De Villiers will try to develop the raw talent of the Eastern Cape, but will hope that as time goes on, he will be able to bring in a few more experienced players to add some grunt, especially amongst the forwards.
Bulls 87 – Tries: Joe van Zyl, Nizaam Carr (2), Marco Jansen van Vuren, David Kriel, Stravino Jacobs (2), Tim Agaba, Marnus Potgieter, Keagan Johannes (2), Jandre Burger. Conversions: Chris Smith (9), Jandre Burger (3). Penalty: Smith (1).
EP 10 – Try: Sithembiso Befile. Conversion: Inny Radebe (1). Penalty: Radebe (1).