The Bulls began their Super 14 title defence with a 51-34 win over the Cheetahs in an all-South African tussle on Friday.
The holders recovered from a poor start to run in six tries against last year’s bottom team in a free-flowing encounter interrupted in the second half when a power failure plunged the stadium into darkness.
The Cheetahs had scored two converted tries just before the lights went out to cut a 20-point Bulls lead to six but when play restarted it was the visitors who struck the decisive blows.
Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn totalled 24 points from a try, five conversions and three penalties.
The game started spectacularly when Cheetahs winger Lionel Mapoe grabbed a try inside 20 seconds.
Steyn opened the account for the Bulls with an eighth-minute penalty that was cancelled out two minutes later by opposite number Naas Olivier, who went on to collect 19 points from five penalties and two conversions.
The Bulls drew level after 15 minutes when centre Jaco Pretorius dived over near the posts and Steyn converted.
The two flyhalves continued to trade penalties before Steyn scored a second try for the Bulls with five minutes left in the first half.
Olivier kicked his fourth penalty three minutes after the interval but the Bulls struck back when winger Gerhard van den Heever and fullback Zane Kirchner notched two tries in quick succession.
The Cheetahs looked dead and buried but captain Juan Smith and winger Jongi Nokwe dived over within two minutes of each other to cut the deficit to six points.
The power failure then halted the game for 10 minutes before the Bulls passed the 50-point mark with two more tries.
[Story appeared on Sport24]