The Vodacom Bulls continued their unbeaten start to the season with flashes of panache steering the hosts to a bonus-point victory over Connacht in Pretoria on Friday.
The Bulls were far from perfect, as they made a plethora of errors and had three players sent to the sin bin, but it was enough for last season’s finalists to do away with an abject Connacht side that could not cope with the physicality of the home side.
Pleasingly for the Bulls, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie got straight in on the action, having returned from Springbok duty, while Johan Goosen was solid in his first start at flyhalf.
The Bulls started and ended the first half strongly, but in between were rather sloppy and found themselves on the wrong end of the referee’s whistle.
Arendse’s intercept try, set up by a wonderful bit of defence from Moodie, was quickly followed up by a sniping score from scrumhalf Zak Burger.
However, Connacht had the better of the territory and possession from there, but some rushed decision-making kept the visitors from fully capitalising.
The Bulls have made a habit of scoring from quick-tap plays and it paid off once again towards the end of the half as Marcell Coetzee forced his way over from close range to put the home side 21-0 up at the break.
It took just five minutes after half-time for Burger to grab his second try and seal the bonus-point for the Bulls, before Connacht hit back through replacement prop Jack Aungier after Jan-Hendrik Wessels became the third player in blue to be yellow-carded.
The rest of the game became a bit of a mess as the Bulls had to play with 13 men when S’bu Nkosi was forced off due to a technicality in Wessels’ yellow card. Connacht were able to take advantage and add one further consolation score through David Hawkshaw.