Bulls full-back Jurgen Visser scored two tries to help the Bulls to 38-32 win against the Lions in a pre-season fixture at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
In the build-up to the match, which also formed part of the Bulls 20-year anniversary celebrations, coach Frans Ludeka had indicated that his team would look to play an expansive game against the Lions.
The Bulls made their intentions clear from the outset, with two tries in the first 20 minutes. For the 30 minutes of this match it seemed unlikely that the Lions would pose a challenge against the old foe.
Bulls centre Jan Serfontein opened the scoring for the Bulls with a well-worked team try, following a fumble by the Lions.
The Lions bounced back shortly after with former Bulls junior flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff kicking a drop goal two minutes later to put his new team on the board.
The Bulls' smooth attack, however, paid off again in the 14th minute as fullback Jurgen Visser ran in behind the fleet-footed Sampie Mastriet to score the team's second try.
Only minutes later Bulls centre Lionel Mapoe - who is on loan from the Lions - was denied a try due to a forward pass, but his team-mate Grant Hattingh dived over the line in the second quarter following a classy pop pass by Serfontein for the team's third to hand the Bulls a handy 19-3 lead.
With the chips down for the Lions, the team showed great character to close in on the Bulls in the second quarter by stringing together phases on attack and applying pressure, and after several unsuccessful attempts to work their way into the Bulls 22, their efforts finally played off with lock Franco Mostert using an overlap to cross the chalk after a long pass out wide.
This try bolstered their confidence significantly, as flank Jaco Kriel dodged attempted tackles by two defenders to dot the ball down for their second try following a good break on the wing to reduce the deficit.
In reply Bulls flyhalf Tiaan Schoeman slotted a successful penalty in the dying minutes of the first half.
With the playing fields almost level both teams tightened up their defence in the second half, which resulted in a hard-fought affair.
In fact the Lions out-scored the Bulls two tries to one in the second half, with left wing Anthony Volmink scoring a fantastic individual try, while Kriel scored a consolation try from a free-kick in the last minute to match the Bulls' four tries for the match.
But penalties by Tiaan Schoeman and Handre Pollard in the last quarter proved the difference on the scoreboard.
For the Lions:
Tries: Mostert, Kriel 2, Volmink
Cons: Boshoff 3
Drop goal: Boshoff
For the Bulls:
Tries: Serfontein, Visser 2, Hattingh
Cons: Schoeman 2, Pollard
Pens: Schoeman 3, Pollard
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 JJ Breet, 19 Warwick Tecklenberg, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Ruhan Nel.
Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jean Cook, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Hencus van Wyk, 18 Wiaan Liebenberg, 19 Cornell Hess, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Handré Pollard, 22 Ulrich Beyers, 23 Jacques du Plessis.