Province expose Bulls' lack of depth in exciting first half
If new Blue Bulls director of rugby John Mitchell had any doubts about the size of the challenge that awaits him, they were dispelled by a tepid first-half display that sealed a great victory for Western Province yesterday.
Despite a spirited fightback after half time, which saw the Bulls "win" the second half 21-3, the damage was done early on as the visitors suffered their second defeat of the campaign.
Teenage No10 Damian Willemse pulled the strings for Province behind a pack that manhandled the Bulls for large parts.With such a solid platform, Willemse was able to display his wide range of skills to embarrass the Bulls as they battled to cope with the pace and accuracy of the home team in the first half.
No8 Nizaam Carr, Willemse, fullback SP Marais, wing Seabelo Senatla (2) and hooker Scarra Ntubeni scored first-half tries.
Willemse was at the heart of most of what Province did well. He scored a great solo try, jinking through six tackles to score the second try of their most impressive performance of the Currie Cup campaign.
Much has been made of Willemse's talent and potential and he hasn't disappointed by taking the step up to senior rugby with the kind of ease that is the preserve of the gifted few.
His combination with Scotland international centre Huw Jones was promising as the two showed impressive understanding of each other's game to keep the Bulls defence guessing.
More often than not, they guessed incorrectly as the Province pair carved openings that led to six first-half tries.
There was a 15-minute period that straddled half time when the Bulls held the upper hand with Province centre EW Viljoen in the sin-bin after an illegal tackle.