Johannesburg - The Blue Bulls, Vodacom Cup semi-finalists
last year, emphatically announced their intent with a 37-13 victory (half-time
17-6) over the Falcons in Kempton Park on Friday in the opening match of the
2015 series, the supersport.com website reports.
Using such heavy guns as Springboks Arno Botha and Akona
Ndungane, as part of their injury rehabilitation, they scored five tries to one
from the over-enthusiastic and over-ambitious Falcons.
The Falcons looked determined to take the fight to the
Bulls, going wide from every set piece and being rewarded with an early
penalty. But they had only themselves to blame for falling so far behind.
The Bulls scored twice through penalty infringements, which
Kobus Marais used to drive them back to a lineout. After 10 minutes' play the
Bulls went down the line from one such lineout and Ndungane, playing at
15,straightened the line to open the way for Travis Ismaiel. Eight minutes
later, a similar lineout was retained by the forwards who drove Roelof Smit
over the line. It was Marais' conversion misses and another penalty for the Falcons'
Juan Kotze that kept the scoreline respectable at 6-10 after 25 minutes.
But the hosts showed their inexperience from that point on.
They were given a man advantage when Bulls wing Jamba Ulengo was sin-binned for
taking Etienne Taljaardt out in the air, but immediately lost momentum when
they dropped the ball on attack and Warrick Gelant, showing his Blitzbok
skills, cut through for a third try, converted by Marais.
The Falcons tried to get back into the game by opting for
lineouts, but on two occasions they overthrew for the Bulls to steal a
turnover. Then they failed to "use it" when called on by the referee
and conceded a scrum to the Bulls five metres from the line. They went into the
break trailing 6-17.
The Falcons tried to run the ball at every occasion, but as
a result they rarely left their own half. On one notable occasion, though,
taking advantage of a series of Bulls infringements, they broke through when Kotze
chipped ahead for replacement centre Andrew van Wyk to pick up and score.
Thereafter they never threatened the Bulls line. Marais
kicked two penalties to make the game safe before Marquit September muscled his
way over after a great offload from Ismaiel. Arno van Wyk sealed it with a
short-range try, scored when the Falcons forgot to defend a tap penalty.
Try: Andrew van Wyk
Conversion: Juan Kotze
Penalties: Kotze (2)
Tries: Travis Ismaiel, Roelof Smit, Warrick Gelant, Marquit September,
Arno van Wyk
Conversions: Kobus Marais (3)
Penalties: Marais (2)