Western Province continued their strong start to the season with a thumping 41-17 win over the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday, writes BRENTON CHELIN.
It was another impressive showing from the Cape side, built on an unforgiving defence and finished with clinical effectiveness. They were starved of the ball for long periods by their visitors from the north, but still managed to score six tries to the Blue Bulls' one.
The Bulls will point to territory and possession as proof that the scoreline didn't reflect the full story, but that would be to misunderstand just why this Bulls side has no points to show from their first two outings. The Bulls were pedestrian at times, and until they sort out their problems at the breakdown, they are destined for disappointment.
Nizaam Carr was imperious, while Siya Kolisi showed glimpses of the form that made him a Springbok in 2013. They were particularly effective in the first half, as Province opened up a 19-6 lead courtesy of three well-worked tries.
Jacques Louis-Potgieter pulled the Bulls to within a score at the start of the second half with two penalties, but that would be as close as they would get.
Two counter-attacking tries from Seabelo Senatla and Michael Rhodes sealed the Bulls' fate, as the game became fractured after a string of yellow cards. Referee Rasta Rasivhenge was harsh on any cynical play, a clear instruction from the higher-ups, with the game descending into 13-on-13 at one stage.
The Bulls would get their try when Bongi Mbonambi went over in the corner, but Western Province would have the last laugh.
Some sublime footwork from Cheslin Kolbe had the Bulls defenders grasping at thin air, before a no-look, over-the-shoulder pass put his captain away for a sublime try after the hooter to wrap up a resounding victory.
Western Province – Tries: Seabelo Senatla (2), Pat Cilliers, Nizaam Carr, Michael Rhodes, Juan de Jongh. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (4). Penalty: Catrakilis.
Blue Bulls – Try: Bongi Mbonambi. Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (4).
Western Province – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Jaco Taute.
Blue Bulls – 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (c), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Hencus Van Wyk, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Jesse Kriel.
Photo: Petri Oescher/Gallo Images