The importance of Victor Matfield to the Bulls cause was illustrated by his absence against the Stormers on Saturday.
Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer said his Super 14 captain had been missed on the day, especially by hooker Gary Botha.
“Victor has been a crucial part of our line-out for so long,” said Meyer after the match. “To lose him to injury and to suddenly have to find a new lock isn’t easy. I wasn’t happy with the line-out and I know Gary wasn’t either.”
While the result won’t matter by the time the Super 14 kicks off in February, Meyer was pleased with his side’s 80 minutes at Newlands.
“It’s always nice to win here,” he said. “It was important to get some momentum after our Currie Cup final defeat, which we’ve achieved with wins against the Cats [last week] and Stormers.”
Meyer praised winger Bryan Habana, who was the unofficial man of the match, scoring five tries in his first game of 2006.
“A team has to have a game breaker if they want to win the Super 14,” he said. “Bryan didn’t play against the Cats and I could see he was ‘lus’ to play today.”
Another player who came to the party was Wynand Olivier, who was given a run at fullback.
“Fullback is a position I’m a bit worried about,” admitted Meyer. “Johan Roets is quite injury prone and has a hamstring problem at the moment. I wanted to test Wynand at fullback and I thought he did well.”