Led by former Springbok, Cornal Hendricks, the defending champions outscored the tenacious Pumas by four tries to one as they registered a well-deserved win on the road to open their campaign in perfect fashion.

Embrose Papier, Ruan Nortje, Johan Grobbelaar and WJ Steenkamp each scored a try for the team in light blue jerseys. Chris Smith succeeded with two conversions and three penalty goals, while opposite flyhalf Tinus de Beer slotted four penalty kicks for the home side.

The Vodacom Bulls led 11-3 at halftime after dominating most of the first half with their powerful scrum and enjoying huge territorial advantage. They were menacing at scrum-time and had the retreating Pumas pack in all sorts of trouble .

With the pack piling on the pressure through another powerful scrum, Springbok scrumhalf Embrose Papier reacted quickly to pounce on the loose ball and score the first try of the new campaign.

De Beer, a former Junior Bok pivot who spent his junior rugby days in Pretoria, replied with a penalty goal for the home side following two earlier penalty goals by Smith.

The Pumas managed to get their got their hands on the ball more often as the first half progressed and they finished that stanza very much in the picture despite their eight-point deficit.

De Beer got the home side of to a good restart when he nailed a straightforward penalty kick to reduce the lead to 11-6, however, Smith replied minutes later with his third attempt to take the score up to 14-6.

Nortje (lock) then went over the whitewash from close range for the Vodacom Bulls' second try of the match, which Smith easily converted to stretch the lead to 21-6 just before the hour mark. De Beer made sure the Pumas stayed in the hunt though, with two more penalty goals in the heavy downpour.

Visiting hooker Johan Grobbelaar then scored a brilliant individual try when he displayed great strength and skill to score their third try despite the close attention of a few Pumas defenders (26-12).

The Pumas showed their tenacity when they were awarded a penalty-try after a powerful surge towards the try-line was illegally stopped by Lizo Gqoboka, who earned a yellow card for his offence. That made the score 26-19 with just five minutes remaining.

However, WJ Steenkamp broke the home side's spirit with his vital try just minutes before the final whistle, and with Smith making no mistake with the easy conversion the Vodacom Bulls were able to clinch this opening match 33-19.


Pumas 19 (3) - Tries: Penalty Try. Penalty goals: Tinus de Beer (4).

Vodacom Bulls 33 (11) - Tries: Embrose Papier, Ruan Nortje, Johan Grobbelaar, WJ Steenkamp. Conversions: Chris Smith (2). Penalty goals: Smith (3).