South Africa’s top performing team the Lions, have returned home from Australia and will host the Bulls in the trans-Jukskei derby.
The two Gauteng teams are only separated by 58 kilometres by road; the closest rugby derby in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Lions are unbeaten in eight matches and have won 10 of their 11, this season.
The Bulls, however, have played 10 matches as well but they have won just three. The three-times Super Rugby champions have lost their last two and are in turmoil; Nollis Marais’ job is on the line.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are off and running in Johannesburg.
2.00: TRY Ruan Combrinck! What a start. The Lions go wide from a lineout, Elton Jantjies plays a skip-pass to Andries Coetzee, the fullback takes the tackle and offloads to Combrinck. The winger chips Jesse Kriel and regathers to score. Wow! The ‘Punisher’ is back with a bang.
3.00: Jantjies adds the touchline conversion.
6.00: TRY Jan Serfontein! It’s a wonderful move in the midfield between Burger Odendaal and Sibahle Maxwane, who combine to send the Bok centre away to score. Odendaal’s inside ball to the winger opened the gap.
7.00: Francois Brummer adds the conversion and the scores are level. Great start to this derby.
9.00: The Lions go down the field and are camped on the Bulls’ line. They win the scrum after a knock-on by the visitors.
11.00: Jantjies is down after taking a huge hit from Ruan Steenkamp. The ball is lost and the Bulls have the put into the scrum.
13.00: BIG SCRUM from the Lions; the win the penalty and Jantjies calls for the tee.
15.00: PENALTY! Jantjies puts the Lions ahead.
18.00: Lizo Gqoboka is penalised for not rolling away; good call, he was lying all over the ruck. Jantjies will kick at goal.
19.00: PENALTY! It’s good from the Springbok. The Lions extended their regained lead.
22.00: TRY Kwagga Smith! Jantjies clears a kick down the field, Courtnall Skosan collects and dances his way into the Bulls’ 22, draws the cover D and passes to Warren Whiteley – who else? – in support. The skipper fends off a tackle and gives the ball to the Blitzbok legend to score.
23.00: Jantjies converts.
25.00: TRY Ruan Dreyer! The big man does his best Richard Bands impression, running 25 metres to score under the posts after collecting Franco Mostert’s pass. The lock made the initial break after Jantjies put him in a hole, and he managed to get a pass away. He could not have thought it was the tighthead in support. Malcolm Marx, the hooker was there too.
26.00: Jantjies can’t miss from there.
27.00: TRY Jesse Kriel scores his fifth Super Rugby try of the season. The fullback powered through Kwagga Smith and Courtnall Skosan before running away to reduce the deficit.
28.00: Brummer adds the two points. What a game. Not much tackling going on.
31.00: TRY Warren Whiteley! The skipper dives on a loose ball after charging down Rudy Paige’s box-kick. After consulting the TMO, Quinton Immelman awards the try.
32.00: Jantjies slots the touchline kick. The Lions are mauling the Bulls.
35.00: There have been three minutes without a try: what is going on?
38.00: The Bulls have had the ball and win a penalty; they kick to touch and will look to maul.
39.00: Wow! Smith wins an important turnover and the Lions clear.
40.00: The Lions have a scrum, it is reset. They proceed to destroy the Bulls’ scrum, kick the ball into the stands and will have a lineout.
43.00: TRY! Combrinck barges over after receiving Jantjies’ long pass.
44.00: Janjies misses from the sideline, but boy, they are destroying the Bulls in every facet of play.
The half-time score was Lions 39 Bulls 14
The teams are back out.
41.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are back in JHB for the second-half.
43.00: TRY Franco Mostert gets his five-pointer! The Lions mauled their way deep into the Bulls’ 22. Kwagga Smith went close, then Warren Whiteley. The Lions, from the ruck, go inside and the lock forward barges over the whitewash.
44.00: MISS! Jantjies can’t add the conversion, but it is irrelevant.
48.00: The Bulls get some go-forward ball, but they lose it after trying to set up another driving maul, five metres out. Not great.
50.00: MASSIVE HIT! Elton Jantjies comes out of the line and smokes Sibahle Maxwane. The Bulls wing is down and the golf-cart is out to take him off. Kwagga Smith has made 32 metres, three passes; won three turnovers and scored a try. Specialist.
51.00: Warrick Gelant is on for Maxwane. The Bulls still have the ball; a line-out on the Lions’ 5.
53.00: The Bulls lose the ball and the Lions, through Jantjies, clear. The Lions proceeded to win the Bulls throw and go wide. Lionel Mapoe puts in a grubber, but it goes out.
55.00: It’s helter-skelter at Ellis Park. The Lions keep coming at the Bulls; they are running everything, finding holes and putting their rivals under intense pressure. There is simply nothing the Bulls can do; everything is futile.
60.00: The Lions are queuing up to score. Only their handling and some strong defence is stopping them from getting more tries.
64.00: The Lions are camped on the Bulls’ try-line; it is only a matter of time before they cross.
68.00: Mapoe loses the ball forward in the act of grounding. Bulls survive, for the time being. The JHB men are cutting them to ribbons; every attack looks like a try.
70.00: TRY? Jantjies looks to have scored, but replays suggest that he lost the ball forwards.
71.00: No try. The TMO sees the knock on; scrum to the Bulls.
76.00: The Bulls survive. They go down the field but cannot score. The Lions turn the ball over and clear.
80.00: TRY Lionel Mapoe! The Bok centre gets his score. Jantjies set the move in motion, Mapoe took his pass, gave it to Coetzee. The fullback played it back inside and Mapoe was away under the posts.
81.00: HALF CENTURY! Jantjies’ fifth conversion brings up the 50 points.
The final score is Lions 51 (39) Bulls 14 (14)
Tries – Combrinck (2), Smith, Dreyer, Whiteley, Mostert, Mapoe
Pen – Jantjies (2)
Con – Jantjies (5)
Tries – Serfontein, Kriel
Con – Brummer (2)
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Ref 1: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 2: Pro Legoete
TMO: Marius Jonker
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Francois de Klerk, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Anthony Volmink.
Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Abongile Nonkontwana, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant.