Carnage as Bulls maul hopeless EP Elephants

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Madosh Tambwe had a bustling day out for the Bulls. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images)
Madosh Tambwe had a bustling day out for the Bulls. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images)

One supposes that one positive thing to emerge for the Eastern Province Elephants following their 87-10 mauling at the hands of the Bulls on Sunday is that things can only get better from here.

The scoreline at Loftus was, frankly, every bit as devastating as it looked on paper.

For about 23 minutes, it looked as if Peter de Villiers' charges might conjure up the minor miracle of limiting the potential damage that the Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup champions could inflict.

However, a more objective peek into that period would reveal that it was really just a case of the hosts struggling to adapt to referee Stuart Berry's strict policing of the entry point, where the Bulls were guilty of coming in from the side or going off their feet.

Even the Elephants' only points in the first 65 minutes came from a Bulls error, scrumhalf Embrose Papier launching a clearing kick after a line-out steal, only for the penalty to be conceded because winger Stravino Jacobs was in front.

The Bulls had nonetheless still established a 14-3 from two textbook mauls following kicks to touch, but it was only in the second quarter - once mentor Jake White had apparently sent out a message to his troops to keep the ball - that the devastation commenced.

Inside centre Marco Jansen van Vuren rounded off a swift counter in which Papier was prominent and fullback David Kriel, after his EP counterpart Riaan Arendse held onto a pass too long, feasted on a loose ball to kick forward and score.

From there things went simply barmy.

Exploiting the Elephants distinct lack of match fitness, the Bulls attacked from deep and several angles, Jacobs profiting with a brace of tries.

A raft of replacements in the final quarter allowed the Elephants to enjoy a five-minute period where they had some continuity and punch, substitute prop Sithembiso Befile, who is a robust carrier, storming over his try.

But that was as good as it got as defensive disorganisation and a wayward set-piece cost them dearly, allowing the Bulls to inflate the scoreline, most prominently through replacement halfback Keagan Johannes.

His second try came after the Elephants neglected to secure their own scrum feed, the ball feebly popping out for Johannes to snap it up. 

It was indicative of the type of outing they experienced.

Points:

Bulls - (38) 87

Tries: Nizaam Carr (2), Stravino Jacobs (2), Joe van Zyl, Marco Jansen van Vuren, David Kriel, Tim Agaba, Marnus Potgieter, Keagan Johannes (2), Jandre Burger

Conversions: Chris Smith (9), Burger (3)

Penalty: Smith

EP Elephants - (3) 10

Try: Sithembiso Befile

Conversion: Inny Radebe

Penalty: Radebe

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