Four-try Bulls back on top in SA

Date published: May 2 2015

The Bulls charged back to the summit of the South African Super Rugby conference on Saturday thanks to a 35-33 win over the Lions at Loftus Versfeld.

The result means the Bulls are now four points clear of the Stormers at the top of the SA conference as the prepare to embark on their overseas tour.

An excellent late try from replacement number eight Pierre Spies secured the win and the bonus point for the home side as they exacted revenge for a narrow defeat at the hands of the neighbours at Ellis Park a few weeks ago.

The Bulls scored three tries in an all-action first half to lead 25-13 at the interval, but trailed by a point on the hour mark as the Jukskei Derby once again produced a humdinger of a game.

Indeed, credit to both sides for playing enterprising rugby in what was arguably the best South African derby of 2015 so far.

Bulls scrum-half Piet van Zyl touched down twice inside the opening ten minutes and when centre JJ Engelbrecht went over, the home side looked on track for a big win.

But the Lions launched an in impressive comeback.

Scrum-half Faf de Klerk had scored in reply to his opposite number in the first quarter but when prop Jacques van Rooyen crashed over after 55-minutes, the visitors took the lead for the first time.

In between, fly-half Elton Jantjies slotted four penalties as the Lions' never-say-die attitude once again paid dividends.

The Bulls' line-out is always strong and it was a key part of this win. But their scrum – which was at the origin of the loss to the Stormers a week ago – stepped up this time and tellingly, it was the home set-piece that won the penalty that put the home side out of reach in the closing stages.

Typically, the Lions didn't go down quietly and Jaco Kriel's try at the death earned the men from Johannesburg a thoroughly deserved bonus point.

The scorers:

For Bulls:
Tries: Van Zyl 2, Engelbrecht, Spies
Cons: Pollard 3
Pens: Pollard 3

For Lions:
Tries: De Klerk, Van Rooyen, Kriel
Cons: Jantjies 2
Pens: Jantjies 4

Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Andrew Beerwinkel, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Pierre Spies, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Burger Odendaal, 23 Jurgen Visser.

Lions: 15 Marnitz Boshoff, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Andries Coetzee, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 20 Robert Kruger, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Alwyn Hollenbach, 23 Courtnall Skosan.

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper , Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Deon van Blommestein