A dominant display by the Blue Bulls saw them beat Western Province 45-26 in their Currie Cup opener at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.
The scoreboard won't show it, but the home side dominated this fixture for the first hour before WP attempted a spirited comeback in the final quarter.
Leading 38-0 on the hour, the Blue Bulls seemingly thought they had this one in the bag. WP capitalised and secured a handy bonus point, but they will have to improve significantly going forward, especially their defence which was embarrassing at times.
The home side dominated the first half, scoring half their tries during this period. Prop Pierre Schoeman, scrum-half Piet van Zyl and centre Burger Odendaal were the standout players in the first 40, regularly taking their team over the advantage line with great effect.
WP were poor in most departments, lacking any cohesion or determination on defence while they too often kicked the ball away when on the attack. The bonus-point try for the Blue Bulls came shortly after half time when debutant Jade Stinghling hit a gap to go over, extending his team's lead to 31-0. Winger Jamba Ulengo extended the lead a few minutes later after some strong running down the left wing.
It all but secured the result, but as the home side took their foot off the peddle the visitors did the exact opposite, hitting back with a try through Johnny Kotze after a sustained period of attack in the opposition 22.
Leolin Zas, who was lively all night, did well to pounce on a kick from his fly-half Brandon Thomson to dot down in the corner to blow some much needed life into the game. Tries by Huw Jones and Scott van Breda followed before Bjorn Basson ran around for his team's sixth try and a strong finish.
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Van Zyl, Jenkins, Orie, Stinghling, Ulengo, Basson.
Cons: Schoeman 6
For Western Province:
Tries: Kotze, Zas, Jones, Van Breda.
Con: Thomson 3
Blue Bulls: 15 Bjorn Basson, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha (c), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Entienne Swanepoel, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Nqoba Mxoli, 18 Eli Snyman, 19 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Dan Kriel.
Western Province: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Khanyo Ngcukana, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Jacques Vermeulen, 7 Jurie van Vuuren, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Chris van Zyl (c), 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 JP Smith, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Godlen Masimla, 21 Brandon Thomson, 22 Johnny Kotze.
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Vusi Msibi, Jaco Pretorius