The match proved that they had healthy depth in their ranks with a few contenders emerging from the match.
It may not have been polished performances, but the Bulls and Lions management got to gauge their depth in their warm-up match at Loftus on Saturday.
The Bulls won the match 21-17, but the result means little in the greater scheme of things with both teams scoring three tries. The match was all about testing combinations and finding the right personnel to complement their first-choice players during Super Rugby.
The Bulls dominated the first half going into the half-time break with a 21-10 lead before a lacklustre second half. Their tries came courtesy of Rosko Specman, Franco Naude and JT Jackson, while Stean Pienaar, Morné van der Berg and Tyrone Green crossed the whitewash for the Lions.
Fielding untested fringe players with a sprinkling of first-choice campaigners the teams got to see what they looked like before the start of the season.
Lions coach Swys de Bruin said the match proved that they had healthy depth in their ranks with a few contenders emerging from the match.
“The last 20 minutes was good for us but it is still early days, we tested combinations and we saw what we wanted to see,” De Bruin said. “We’ve got lovely depth in our team. Eleven of the 15 that played are still Under-21 so it is looking promising.
“There were definitely a couple of players that put up their hands today and that is what we were looking for.
“There were 23 guys that didn’t play today which is more or less the same with the Bulls. There are about five or six guys that can make the squad.”
Bulls flank Ruan Steenkamp had a storming game in the No 6 jersey, while the midfield combination of Jackson and Naude also made an impression.
On the Lions side, Gianni Lombard was in top form at flyhalf, while their centre pairing of Green and Wandisile Simelane also turned in good performances.
Both coaches bemoaned the number of penalties their teams conceded in the match with the players adjusting to law changes. Bulls coach Pote Human said the penalty count was something they needed to remedy.
“It is definitely a concern. In the first 25 minutes, we didn’t get a single penalty, then suddenly eight in a row. And in the second half, we also conceded too many,” Human said.