Lions beat Bulls 32-21 in Super Rugby
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — The Lions snapped a seven-match losing streak to lift themselves off the foot of the Super Rugby table and dent the Bulls’ playoff chances as they won a frenzied South African derby 32-21 on Saturday.
After a first half that set a high tempo but produced no tries, Alwyn Hollenbach and Warwick Tecklenburg scored opportunistic tries for the Lions to give them a 29-9 lead in the second period.
Although the Bulls hit back through tries from William Small-Smith and Jacques du Plessis to narrow the gap to eight points, the Lions held their nerve and flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff kicked a late penalty to take his points tally for the game to 22.
The win lifted the Lions to 13th in the standings, while the Bulls are ninth going into the break for the June internationals.
Given the Lions’ form, the Bulls went into the game looking for a bonus-point victory to keep their playoff hopes on track, but found themselves under early pressure due to Boshoff’s first-minute dropped goal and subsequent accuracy from the tee.
The visitors clawed their way back to parity at 9-9 after 45 minutes, but from the restart a Bulls knock-on gifted possession away and Alwyn Hollenbach wrong-footed the visiting defense to score.
The Lions had shown little attacking ability in the first half, but with 11 minutes to go they created a try of beauty from inside their own half as Elton Jantjies broke the line and then kept the ball alive in the tackle, before Tecklenburg was on hand to round off the move.
However, it took just two minutes for the Bulls to hit back through Small-Smith, and when Du Plessis beat four defenders to run 30 meters and score with six minutes remaining, the game was alive again.
Despite the pressure and some weary legs, the Lions kept their cool and Boshoff made sure of the win with his fourth penalty in the dying minutes.
Lions 32 (Alwyn Hollenbach try, Warwick Tecklenburg try, Marnitz Boshoff 4 penalties, 2 dropped goals, 2 conversions) Bulls 21 (William Small-Smith try, Jacques du Plessis try, Jacques-Louis Potgieter 3 penalties, 1 conversion). HT: 9-6.