Durban — The Bulls systematically dismantled a tough Cardiff outfit at Loftus Versfeld before running in six superb tries for a hugely impressive win 45-9 win in the United Rugby Championship on Saturday night.
Cardiff certainly did not come into this game under the radar. They had ended the Stormers’ unbeaten run a few weeks before and then humiliated the Sharks to confirm they are the best of the Welsh challenge.
But they ultimately had no answer to a Bulls team that is proving to be ideally balanced in that they have immense power up front and speed and agility at the back, plus a creative talent in Johan Goosen at flyhalf, and when they go through five or more phases a try is almost inevitable.
And when you have the dangerous duo of Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse creating magic for each other, it is an explosive cocktail.
Cardiff started well enough, with flyhalf Jarrod Evans landing a penalty just over a minute into the game.
Five minutes later, Johan Goosen levelled the scores in what was a good start for him after a long absence from the Bulls’ No 10 jersey but Evans made it 6-3 after a penalty was won at the breakdown by James Botham, the grandson of cricket legend Ian Botham.
The Bulls were not allowed to get into their rhythm by the tenacious Welshmen and then they suffered a setback when in-form wing David Kriel was forced off with a leg injury in the 20th minute, replaced by veteran Lionel Mapoe.
It was a patchy opening quarter from the home team and it took 30 minutes before they at last kept the ball through enough phases to open up the defence and Goosen neatly put away Moodie for the score.
Some of that good work was undone when lock Ruan Vermaak played scrumhalf Lloyd Williams off the ball and that allowed Evans to make it a one-point game at 10-9.
Three minutes before half-time, the Bulls backed themselves when they kicked a goalable penalty to the corner and a number of phases later, Goosen conjured up a chicken-wing offload to put Arendse through for the score and a 17-9 half-time lead.
That try just before the break meant the Bulls began the second half with their tails up. A penalty was soon kicked to the corner and Goosen sublimely carved through the defence for a solo try.
The Bulls were then tested on defence for a long period as Cardiff threw everything into the attack, but they soaked up the pressure and then when they broke out, they promptly scored when — inevitably — a penalty was kicked to the corner and captain Ruan Nortje crashed over.
Moodie nailed his second after a nifty chip kick by Arendse, his partner in crime, and suddenly it was becoming a rout at 38-9.
No 8 Elrigh Louw had the final say with yet another maul try.
Bulls 45 — Tries: Canan Moodie (2), Kurt-Lee Arendse, Johan Goosen, Ruan Nortje, Elrigh Louw. Penalties: Johan Goosen. Conversions: Goosen (4), Chris Smith (2).
Cardiff 9 — Penalties: Jarrod Evans (3)