The Golden Lions got their Currie Cup campaign off to a winning start on Saturday with a convincing 41-13 victory over the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park.
The home side were rewarded for their intent to keep ball in hand as they outscored their Gauteng neighbours four tries to one in an entertaining game.
The Lions led 23-3 at the interval thanks to tries from Stokkies Hanekom and Ruan Combrink with Marnitz Boshoff chipping in with 13 points, including a drop goal, with a perfect kicking display.
The Bulls fought back after the break, sparked by a try from wing Sampie Mastriet soon after the restart, but Lions flank Jaco Kriel's try around the hour mark put the game beyond reach.
Replacement flank Warwick Tecklenburg secured the bonus-point fourth try with the last play of the game as the Lions rumbled over with an impressive maul.
Playing in their original navy blue and white strip from 125 years ago, the Lions lay down the marker early on in the trans-Jukskei Derby.
The Lions built some confidence through their scrum, while the loose trio of captain Warren Whiteley, Jaco Kriel and Derick Minnie were energetic in the loose and at the breakdowns which gave the side good go-forward ball.
The hosts made an impressive start to the match as some good interplay ended in the first try after just four minutes.
Combrinck supplied the spark as he fielded a high ball before outside centre Stokkies Hanekom stepped his way to the tryline.
Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Boshoff traded penalties before Boshoff slotted a drop and another penalty for a 13-point lead.
The Lions struck a debilitating blow as the Bulls strung their most promising attack together only to see Combrinck intercept a Potgieter pass for an unchallenged sprint to the tryline, with Boshoff adding the extras.
After the interval the Bulls started chipping away at the Lions' lead starting the half with a try that seemed too easy as they spread the ball through the hands to Mastriet, who scored in the left-hand corner.
Potgieter converted the five-pointer before he added a penalty goal in the 48th minute to shrink the deficit to 10 points.
Boshoff retired hurt to hand over the baton to the 20-year-old Jaco van der Walt, who added a three-pointer shortly after stepping onto the field.
At the turn of the final quarter, Van der Walt scored his second penalty of the night to hand his side a 29-13 lead.
In the 65th minute fiery Kriel scored his side's third try from a turnover, which allowed winger Lionel Mapoe to break the line and put Kriel away with a short pass. Van der Walt converted.
The Lions were made to work for their bonus-point try but found it at the death when they set up a maul from a line-out which saw Tecklenburg taking the points from the back.
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Hanekom, Combrink, Kriel,Tecklenburg
Cons: Boshoff 2, Van der Walt
Pens: Boshoff 2, Van der Walt 2
For Blue Bulls:
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Ruan Combrink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Howard Mnisi.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Jono Ross, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Jesse Kriel.
Referee:Jaco van Heerden