Fly-half Morné Steyn has praised his Vodacom Bulls teammates after the South African side held on for victory over Lyon in their maiden Heineken Champions Cup game on Saturday.
The hosts notched six tries in Pretoria, including four in the first 23 minutes, but needed to battle until the final whistle to secure victory as the TOP 14 team rallied after the break.
Veteran Steyn, who has prior experience of EPCR competitions having lifted the Challenge Cup with Stade Français Paris in 2017, hailed his side’s strong start against Lyon, but warned that their trip to 2020 champions Exeter Chiefs in Round 2 will be another serious test.
“I think that was the most important thing,” the 38-year-old said. “We told the boys in the cloakroom that we wanted a good start and I think that’s what we did.
“We put them away in the first half but they kept on fighting for 80 minutes so yeah, it wasn’t easier.
Coming out of the break in style!
Stravino Jacobs with a 𝓯𝓲𝓵𝓽𝓱𝔂 run and the @BlueBullsRugby rack up another 7️⃣#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/E2JHXLBb0x
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 10, 2022
“I got a bit of cramp in the last 10 minutes but that’s probably the old legs, but it’s great to get an 80-minute fight by the boys.
“A great fight from the boys for 80 minutes and I think that’s what we’re going to get every week. Next week we’re in Exeter and it’s not going to get any easier.”
Steyn also underlined that Vodacom Bulls’ team featured several less experienced players, but that there was sense the starting XV justified their selection.
“I know a lot of people didn’t give us a chance, and a lot of guys that played tonight, a lot of [people] didn’t even know their names,” he said. “There were a lot of guys who also came back from injury.
“So, I think there’s a lot of big names for the years to come.”