The Bulls held off a ferocious Lions fightback ton win their Currie Cup clash 43-37 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
AS IT HAPPENED | Bulls v Lions
It was an entertaining game that saw the Bulls score six tries and the Lions five.
Bulls 43 (35)
Tries: Lizo Gqoboka, Bismarck du Plessis, David Kriel, Janko Swanepoel, Stedman Gans, Richard Kriel
Conversions: Juan Mostert (4), Keagan Johannes
Lions 37 (17)
Try: Ruben Schoeman, Burger Odendaal, Francke Horn, Jordan Hendrikse, Sibusiso Sangweni
Conversions: Hendrikse (3)
Penalties: Hendrikse (2)
The Bulls completely dominated the first period, running the Lions off their feet on several occasions. They led 35-10 shortly before half-time, before Lions skipper Burger Odendaal crossed on the stroke of the interval to reduce the damage to 35-17.
The Lions came out with vigour in the second stanza and took charge of matters. They scored three tries in the second half and sniffed blood when they trailed only 38-34 with eight minutes remaining.
Flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse’s long-range penalty reduced the scoreline to 38-37 with four minutes remaining.
However, after a strong attack by the Bulls, the Lions committed “suicide” when they tried to run the ball from inside their own goalline area. After a few risky passes, Odendaal threw the ball straight into Richard Kriel’s hands as the replacement back dotted down in rather comical circumstances.
There were two minutes left for the Lions to snatch victory, but the Bulls hung on for a vital win that saw them move back to the top of the Currie Cup standings.
The Cheetahs, who thumped the Sharks 44-15 in Bloemfontein earlier on Saturday, had leapfrogged the Bulls at the top for a few hours.
The Bulls (42 points) are one point ahead of the Cheetahs although the men from Pretoria have played one more game.
The winless Lions, meanwhile, remain rooted to the bottom of the standings after 10 straight defeats. But they’ll take heart from this performance, arguably their best of the Currie Cup to date.
15 James Verity-Amm, 14 David Kriel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 11 Kabelo Mokoena, 10 Juan Mostert, 9 Keagan Johannes, 8 Muller Uys, 7 Reinhardt Ludwig, 6 Jaco Labuschagne, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Raynard Roets, 3 Dylan Smith, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Lizo Gqoboka (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Sidney Tobias, 17 Cebo Dlamini, 18 Francois Kloppers, 19 Ruan Delport, 20 Stephan Smith, 21 Bernard van der Linde, 22 Diego Appollis, 23 Richard Kriel
15 Quan Horn, 14 Steab Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 France Horn, 7 Ruan Venter, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole
Substitutes: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Heiko Pohlmann, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Cal Smid, 20 Jarod Cairns, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Henko van Wyk, 23 Tiaan Swanepoel