Cape Town - The Bulls produced a dominant first half to down Western Province 40-21 in their Currie Cup encounter at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.
Given the Bulls’ team sheet alone, it’d have been a stretch to expect Province to be the favourites going into the fixture against a Bulls side packing Springboks and major experience.
While Province held their own at the scrums - an area that was flagged by head coach Jerome Paarwater and skipper Nama Xaba building up to the match - early on, it was almost all Bulls in the opening half.
The Bulls made their time spent in opposition 22 worth it as they converted their presence in the red zone into points, bagging four tries to nil in the first half.
It took just two minutes for the Bulls to get into WP’s in-goal when James Verity-Amm went over, with Morne Steyn adding the conversion.
Canan Moodie added his name to the scoresheet when he ran in their second try in the opening 20. Steyn made this one look all-too-easy as well as he booted them 0-14 ahead.
Things got even tougher for the hosts when Keke Morabe was shown yellow, and the Bulls forwards continued their solid work from an impressive scrum when front-rower Simpiwe Matanzima crashed over at the 20-minute mark for their third converted try.
Cyle Brink added a special touch to his debut around the half-hour mark when he ran in their fourth.
After trailing 0-28 at the break Province - who let a few opportunities slip when they did have the ball in the first half - produced an improved effort in the second half, scoring two tries and playing to their strengths and with intent as they moved the ball around, something they perhaps should have done sooner considering how far behind they were in this match.
The Bulls ran in two second-half tries through Bismarck du Plessis and Marco Jansen van Vuren, while WP ran in their first try of the game by skipper Nama Xaba to get some points on the board early in the second half.
Tristan Leyds produced some magic to bag a late try, before Marcel Theunissen ensured the hosts have the last say with a converted try.
Western Province - Tries: Nama Xaba, Tristan Leyds, Marcel Theunissen. Conversions: Tim Swiel (2), Chris Schreuder. Yellow card: Keke Morabe
Bulls - Tries: James Verity-Amm, Canan Moodie, Simpiwe Matanzima, Cyle Brink, Bismarck du Plessis Marco Jansen van Vuren. Conversions: Morne Steyn (2). Red card: Jan Hendrik Wessels.