Bulls hold off fierce Lions fightback to win Currie Cup thriller

Bismarck du Plessis is tackled by Jordan Hendrikse. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

the Bulls held back a fierce the Lions fight back to win their Currie Cup clash 43-37 at the Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

HOW IT HAPPENED | Bulls vs. Lions

It was an entertaining game that saw the Bulls score six tries and the Lions five.

Scorers:

Bulls 43 (35)

Essays: Lizo Gqoboka, Bismarck du Plessis, David Kriel, Janko Swanepoel, Stedman Gans, Richard Kriel

Conversions: Juan Mostert (4), Keagan Johannes

Penalty: 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, toppling the Lions several times. They were leading 35-10 shortly before half-time, before Lions skipper Burger Odendaal crossed on the break to reduce the damage to 35-17.

The Lions came out with vigor in the second verse and took matters into their own hands. They scored three tries in the second half and sniffed blood as they trailed just 38-34 with eight minutes remaining.

Fly-half Jordan Hendrikse’s long-range penalty made it 38-37 with four minutes remaining.

However, after a strong attack from the Bulls, the Lions ‘committed suicide’ when they attempted to kick the ball from inside their own end zone. After a few risky passes, Odendaal kicked the ball straight into the hands of Richard Kriel as the substitute broke away in rather comical circumstances.

The Lions had two minutes left to snatch victory, but the Bulls hung on for a vital win that put them back at the top of the Currie Cup standings.

The Cheetahs, who beat the Sharks 44-15 in Bloemfontein earlier on Saturday, had passed the Bulls at the top for a few hours.

The Bulls (42 points) are one point ahead of the Cheetahs even though the Pretoria men have played one game more.

The winless Lions, meanwhile, remain entrenched at the bottom of the table after 10 straight defeats. But they will rejoice in this performance, arguably their best in the Currie Cup to date.

Teams:

Bulls

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)

Subs: 16 Sidney Tobias, 17 Cebo Dlamini, 18 François Kloppers, 19 Ruan Delport, 20 Stephan Smith, 21 Bernard van der Linde, 22 Diego Appollis, 23 Richard Kriel

the Lions

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

Subs: 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

Charles P. Patton