Things heating up for the Bulls

Playing five-star rugby at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria is one thing. Doing it in hell is another. This was probably the Bulls’ main obstacle at a 38 degree Wellington on Saturday when they scored an unimpressive 35-14 victory over a highly motivated Boland Cavaliers side.

Boland shocked the visitors by leading 7-0 at halftime. Although the Bulls scored five tries in the second half, the warning lights are flashing for the defending Super 14 champions.

The Cavaliers unsettled the visitors from the kick off with solid first-time tackling. This forced the Bulls into numerous mistakes and they looked like an average club side for the first 40 minutes. Coach Frans Ludeke rang the changes in the second half and that gave the Bulls some momentum.

The Cavaliers were excellent in the loose department where Zolani Mofu frustrated the Bulls with his speed and fiery play at the breakpoint as he did against the Stormers last week.

Pedrie Wannenburg and Wikus van Heerden tried hard throughout, but the opposition stopped them in their tracks before they could gain valuable ground.

Wilhelm Steenkamp and Fudge Mabeta controlled the line-outs, but are obviously not in the class of Victor Matfield or Bakkies Botha. And behind the scrum, captain Fourie du Preez was well checked by the Boland loose trio, while Bryan Habana was also given little room in which to move.

Habana was replaced at the halftime whistle and the Cavaliers can boast they are one of a few teams in the world against whom Habana did not scored a try. Derick Hougaard, Danwel Demas and John Mametsa eventually got the Bulls’ rhythm back, but there is still a lot of work to be done before the Bulls tackle the Stormers in their first Super 14 match of the season at Newlands on February 16.

Derick Kuun did nothing wrong as hooker, but the absence of Gary Botha was surely missed. For the Cavaliers, winger Alshaun Bock impressed once again with his fearless tackling, while tighthead prop Andries Human showed he can still play Super 14 rugby.

Werner Kruger, Mametsa (2), Demas and Marius Delport scored tries for the Bulls, while Hougaard converted all five.

For Boland, Monray Liebenberg, who replaced John Daniels early in the game, scored the only try in the first half, while another replacement, Ashwell Peters dotted down in the 30th minute of the second half.

Both tries were converted by flyhalf Lionel Cornelius.


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