The Vodacom Bulls began their Vodacom United Rugby Championship 2022/23 campaign on a positive note when they claimed a satisfactory 15-31 win over the Emirates Lions at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.
The Tshwane-based side traveled to Johannesburg for their season-opening match against their arch-rivals from across the Jukskei River expecting a tough encounter. And that is exactly what they got in the grueling clash in the Highveld.
It was the Vodacom Bulls who got the scoreboard ticking first when captain, Marcell Coetzee, crossed over for the opening try of the afternoon. Moments later the home side responded with a penalty from flyhalf, Jordan Hendrikse.
The Vodacom Bulls added another try via veteran, Cornal Hendricks, before the half-time break, while the home team also scored a five-pointer, courtesy of loose-forward Francke Horn, with the visitors going into the break leading 8-15.
The Emirates Lions held their own in the early stages of the second half after striking early with a try from Marius Louw in the 44th minute.
However, the Vodacom Bulls made a come back through the boot of Chris Smith and a third try for the visitors from substitute, Jan-Hendrik Wessels to claim the 15-31 victory.
The Vodacom Bulls will be hard at training in the coming week in preparation for their first home fixture of the new season where they will host Edinburgh Rugby at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Emirates Lions (8) 15
TRIES: Francke Horn, Marius Louw
CONVERSION: Jordan Hendrikse
Vodacom Bulls (15) 31
TRIES: Marcell Coetzee, Cornal Hendricks, Jan-Hendrik Wessels
CONVERSIONS: Chris Smith, Morne Steyn
PENALTIES: Smith (4)