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Lions smash Bulls and send Crusaders a warning

Bjorn Basson of the Bulls can't stop Rohan Janse van Rensburg of the Lions f

The Lions became the first visiting team to win at Loftus Versfeld this season when they beat the Bulls 20-56 with a bonus point in Pretoria.

The Lions victory ends an eight match losing streak in Pretoria for the Johannesburg side and is the first time since 2002 in the Super 12 that the Lions have won in Pretoria.

The Lions outscored the Bulls by seven tries to three in the Lions biggest away win in Super Rugby history.

The victory moves the Lions to 42 points which is three behind tournament leaders the Crusaders on 45 points.

The Lions have matches remaining against the Sharks, Kings and Jaguares and have put themselves into a position, given their opposition ahead,  where they could finish the season on top of the Super Rugby standings.

In comparison the Crusaders have matches against the Chiefs, Rebels and Hurricanes remaining which is a far more difficult finish to the season.

The Lions opened the scoring in the first minute with a penalty and it soon became clear that the Bulls had no answer for a rampaging, bursting with flair, Lions side on the night.

Lions number nine Faf de Klerk was once again instrumental in the breathtaking performance of the Johannesburg outfit, but he was ably assisted by a hungry forward pack and electrifying backline.

The Lions worked their way to a 25-8 lead, and after the break continued with the same drive which never allowed the hosts into the game.

The Bulls conceded a penalty from the opening kickoff, and Lions flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff made no mistake to take a 3-0 lead.

Boshoff slotted another penalty in the 14th minute to move the Lions out to a 6-0 lead.

De Klerk started a flying move into the Bulls half, before the ball was moved out wide to centre Rohan Janse Van Rensburg who showed good strength as he barged over the line for the try. Boshoff added the extra two to help the Lions to a 13-0 lead after 19 minutes.

The Bulls responded immediately from the restart as Jesse Kriel snapped up the kickoff which was allowed to bounce by the Lions defence, and the speedy centre dotted down for the try. Bulls flyhalf Francois Brummer missed the conversion as the score remained 13-5 in favour of the visitors with 21 minutes played.

Standout Lions centre Lionel Mapoe then went over for his ninth try of the season, and the Lions second of the night. Janse Van Rensburg ran a great outside line before offloading for his midfield partner who powered his way over the line as the Lions led 18-5 after 27 minutes. Boshoff could not add the conversion.

The Bulls had to settle for a penalty after spending some time in the Lions 22, sent through the uprights by Brummer to make the score 18-8 with under 10 minutes left in the half.

Lions prop Julian Redelinghuys notched up his first Super Rugby try after the Lions were relentless in attacking the Bulls tryline with play going through a number of phases. With the score coming just next to the posts, Boshoff was able to nudge over the conversion for a 25-8 lead at the break.

The first points of the second period came three minutes in when Boshoff added another three after the Bulls conceded a penalty for a dangerous tackle. The Lions led 28-8 as they began the second 40 much as they had the first.

De Klerk setup another try in the 54th minute when he went for a quick tap from a penalty, burst through the Bulls line before finding flank Jaco Kriel who did the rest as he sprinted away under the posts for the score. Boshoff made the easy conversion to give his team a comfortable 35-8 lead.

The Bulls then wasted no time in finding their second try of the evening, as Adriaan Strauss fell over the line from a powerful driving maul on the line. Brummer was wayward with his attempt as the score stayed 35-13.

The rampage continued for the Lions as Courtnall Skosan surged away for the fifth try of the evening for his side after the inside pass from skipper Warren Whiteley. Boshoff sent the conversion through the upright as the 50-mark approached with the Lions up 42-13.

De Klerk finally turned from provider to scorer as he darted over for a try in the corner from a Lions scrum in the Bulls 22. Boshoff made it 49-13 with the conversion from the touchline.

Janse van Rensburg sprinted over for his second of the evening after some breathtaking backline play from the Lions which left the Bulls defence routed to the spot. Boshoff was on target once again as he nailed the conversion from the touchline to make it 56-13.

Deon Stegmann scored the third try for the Bulls as he found a gap in the Lions defence in the 22 as he dived under the posts for the score. Pierre Schoeman eased over the conversion for a 56-20 scoreline.

The Lions will return to Super Rugby after the June Internationals break with a match at home in Johannesburg against the Sharks.

The Bulls travel to Buenos Aires Argentina where they will play the Jaguares.

Final Score Bulls 20 (8) Lions 56 (25)

Scorers

Bulls
Tries – J.Kriel, A.Strauss, D.Stegmann
Pen – F.Brummer
Con – T.Schoeman
Drop –
Cards – T.Schoeman (67th min yellow)

Lions
Tries -R.Janse van Rensburg 2, L.Mapoe, J.Redelinghuys, J.Kriel, C.Skosan, F.de Klerk
Pen – M.Boshoff 3
Con – M.Boshoff 6
Drop –
Cards –

Attendance : 29418

Match Officials
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant Ref 1:Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2:Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO :Christie du Preez

Teams

Bulls

15 SP Marais,14 Jamba Ulengo,13 Jesse Kriel,12 Jan Serfontein,11 Bjorn Basson,10 Francois Brummer,9 Piet van Zyl,8 Arno Botha,7 Jannes Kirsten,6 Lappies Labuschagne,5 RG Snyman,4 Jason Jenkins,3 Marcel vd Merwe,2 Adriaan Strauss (C ),1 Lizo Gqoboka

Replacements : 16 Bandise Maku,17 Trevor Nyakane,18 Pierre Schoeman,19 Grant Hattingh,20 Deon Stegmann,21 Rudy Paige,22 Tian Schoeman,23 Dries Swanepoel

Lions

15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.

Replacements : 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronjé, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Ashlon Davids.