Matfield blow for Bulls

Bulls captain Victor Matfield will miss his side’s next two warm-up matches after hurting his right knee against the Cats at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The Bulls beat the Cats 15-11 and 30-12 in the two games, but both sides suffered injuries to key players.

Matfield and Bakkies Botha asserted their dominance in the line-outs, with the skipper leaving the field shortly before half-time of the second game.

Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer said that while the injury was a blow to the side, it would give Fourie du Preez and Jacques Cronje a chance to showcase their captaincy credentials.

Sapa reports that apart from flashes of brilliance by Cats scrumhalf Jano Vermaak and Bulls replacement hooker Chilliboy Ralepelle and solid performances by Cats skipper Wikus van Heerden, centre Jaque Fourie and Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn, both teams looked nothing more than average.

The Cats had injury problems of their own, with flyhalves Tiaan Snyman and replacement Nel Fourie being forced to leave the field in the first game due to injury. Snyman took a knock to the head and had to be carried off the field, while Fourie hurt his left shoulder.

Judging from Saturday’s games, it appears as though the Bulls will not deviate much from the game plan that earned them a place in the semi-final of the Super 12 last year – using their forwards to drive the ball over the advantage line and relying on their creative backs to round off the opportunities.

The Cats, meanwhile, lacked structure and a fixed game plan, and relied on lucky breaks through the Bulls defence to create opportunities to put points on the board.

FIRST GAME

Cats 1: Conrad Jantjes, Wylie Human, Dewey Swartbooi, Wayne Julies, Edrick van Tonder, Tiaan Snyman, Jano Vermaak, Wikus van Heerden, Jean Deysel, Gordon Gilfillan, Jannes Labuschagne, Daniel Muller, James van der Walt, Heinke van der Merwe

Bulls 1: Willem Slabbert, John Mametsa, Rudi Coetzee, Riaan van den Bergh, Akona Ndungane, Morne Steyn, Neil Powell, Pierre Spies, Johan Wasserman, Pedrie Wannenburg, Francois van Schouwenburg, Adriaan Fondse, Danie Thiart, Kobus van der Walt, Harry Vermaas.

Bulls 15
Cats 11

Bulls – Tries: Rudi Coetzee, Morne Steyn. Penalty: Steyn.
Cats – Try: Wylie Human. Penalties: Quinton van Tonder (2).

SECOND MATCH

Cats 2: Earl Rose, John Daniels, Jaque Fourie, Jorrie Muller, Oginga Siwindla, Arno Coetzee, Dave von Hoesslin, Pietie Ferreira, Gerhard Vosloo, Roland Bernard, Willem Stoltz, Trevor Hall, Bertus Smit, Lukas van Biljon, Lawrence Sephaka.

Bulls 2: Marius Delport, Trompie Nontshinga, JP Nel, Dries Scholtz, Danwel Demas, Derick Hougaard, Heine Adams, Jacques Cronje, Danie Rossouw, Tim Dlulane, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Andries Human, Adriaan Strauss, Jaco Engels.

Reserves: Dean Strydom, Wessel Roux, Cliffie Milton, Derick Kuun, Fourie du Preez, Morne Steyn, Bryan Habana

Bulls 30
Cats 12

Bulls – Tries: Marius Delport, Tim Dlulane, Jacques Cronje,
Trompie Nontshinga. Penalties: Derick Hougaard (2)
Cats – Tries: Jaque Fourie, Roland Bernard. Conversion: Earl Rose.