The Vodacom Bulls scored six tries in a convincing 39-26 win against Saracens in London on Saturday, writes JON CARDINELLI.
Saracens fielded a second-string side, and battled to live with the Bulls at the collisions and breakdowns. The Bulls were just as dominant at the lineout, and scored two first-half tries from this set piece.
This contrasted the performance at the scrum. The Bulls were penalised heavily at the scrum in the first half, and coach Frans Ludeke responded by taking off tighthead Werner Kruger at half-time. However, when replacement Marcel van der Merwe went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the second stanza, Kruger was reinserted.
Apart from the scrums, the Bulls produced a good team performance. What would also have pleased Ludeke was the showings of several individuals.
Jacques du Plessis, a flank in last year's Super Rugby tournament, was excellent at No 4 lock. Pierre Spies enjoyed a good comeback to rugby after being sidelined for nearly two years. Spies played 25 minutes from the bench, and scored a try.
The Bulls attack and defence was good for 60 minutes, but the team lost a bit of structure following a string of substitutions. Saracens capitalised in the latter stages, scoring tries through Neil de Kock and Ernst Joubert, two players who began their respective careers in South Africa, as well as Jackson Wray.
Saracens – Tries: Chris Wyles, Neil de Kock, Ernst Joubert, Jackson Wray. Conversions: Charlie Hodgson (3).
Bulls – Tries: Deon Stegmann, Francois Hougaard, Jurgen Visser, Hanro Liebenberg, Pierre Spies, Roelof Smit. Conversions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Handré Pollard (2). Penalty: Potgieter.
Saracens – 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Jack Wilson, 13 Tim Streather, 12 Chris Wyles, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Valetin Poparlan, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Brett Sharman, 1 Rhys Gill.
Subs: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 James Johnston, 19 Barrell, 20 Jacques Burger, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Rory Teague, 23 Janie, 24 Nick de Jager, 25 Catalin Fercu
Bulls – 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Deon Stegmann (c), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Subs: Jesse Kriel, William Small-Smith, Handré Pollard, Piet van Zyl, Pierre Spies, Roelof Smit, RG Snyman, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Morne Mellet, Marcel van der Merwe, Jaco Visagie, Duncan Matthews.
Photo: Blue Bulls