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Bulls gore lamentable Lions

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The Bulls battered the Lions 48-27 after a pulsating trans-Jukskei derby at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.

Handré Pollard scored 18 points including a try and two assists in a commanding performance by himself and his team.

The 25-year-old truly is captain fantastic.

He, along with Duane Vermeulen, the Bulls‘ pack and outside backs, was immense.

Hanro Liebenberg grabbed a brace as the Bulls secured a stunning seven-tries to two beat-down of the listless Lions.

Pote Human’s men will travel to New Zealand to play the high-flying Hurricanes in Wellington.

The power has shifted north of the Jukskei after four years’ of dominance by the Lions.

The Johannesburg side has dominated the South African Conference, playing in the previous three finals.

The Lions have only won two of their previous eight derbies, this after winning 19 local derbies in a row.

The game was as good as over at halftime as the Joburg men trailed 31-19, more importantly, they shipped four tries while only dotting down once.

Elton Jantjies’ boot kept them within two scores, adding his fourth penalty soon after the restart to reduce the deficit to nine.

RG Snyman was harshly yellow-carded and the Lions made their hosts pay.

Cyle Brink crashed over after a bulldozing maul, however, the Bulls were not done.

Cornal Hendricks and Pollard scored within five minutes to increase their advantage in this crazy game.

Manie Libbok also got in on the act, scoring late in the game to put the Lions out of their misery.

The game started with a bang

Two tries inside four minutes, the first from the kick-off and a third after 11 minutes, and five in 20 minutes.

Liebenberg dotted down twice after Hacjivah Dayimani’s 15-second score to start the points-fest.

Dayimani started the mayhem.

Super Rugby Video Highlights, Round 18: Bulls versus Lions, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

He gathered Aphiwe Dyantyi’s pass and races 50 metres to score.

Dyantyi slipped Jannes Kirsten and Pollard’s weak tackles and charged to the halfway line before sending the number eight away for his third Super Rugby try of the season.

Dayimani handed off Rosco Specman before dotting down, too.

The Bulls hit back through Liebenberg, who darted over from close range, putting the ball against the post.

It came from Andre Warner’s quick-tap penalty inside the Lions 22.

Pollard levelled.

Jantjies’ penalty made it 7-10 before one of the smartest set-pieces tries you will ever see.

The Bulls kicked to the corner. then came some magic from the training ground.

A short lineout involving Specman and Warner caught the Lions napping.

Specman took the ball at the front of the lineout, popped to Warner who sent the ball to Marco van Staden and a pod of six Bulls’ forwards standing at first receiver.

Van Staden gathered the ball and was carried forward.

The ball was recycled to Liebenberg, as the big men barged their way over the chalk, and the lock-forward had his second.

Andries Coetzee’s drop-goal brought the scores to within one point after 14 minutes.

Bulls pull away

But two tries in the next six minutes by Lizo Gqoboka and Burger Odendaal took the score to 28-13 inside the opening quarter.

Gqoboka crashed over from close range after a sweeping attack and Odendaal finished off another counter-attack.

Pollard kicked a 24th-minute penalty to extend his side’s lead.

Curious tactics by the Lions keep them in the contest

Some curious tactics by the Lions followed.

Shaun Reynolds and Coetzee miss long-range drop-kicks in the space of a minute.

Swys de Bruin’s men continued with the tactic of taking the points, something that has been anathema in Johannesburg since 2015.

For a side to look to score in threes when 18 points behind, was startling.

Jantjies kicked a long-range penalty from in front, on the half-hour, to finally cut the deficit albeit slightly.

The home team, after not having much possession for a while, started to keep the ball in hand and rumble down the field.

Two penalties from distance by Jantjies, either side of the interval, made it a nine-point ball game.

The Lions started to get their mojo back. They kicked to the corner, were repelled once by some superb defending.

However, on 56 minutes, Cyle Brink crashed over the whitewash after another powerful driving maul.

Jantjies missed his first kick from the sideline, but his side was on top.

But the home team fought back and ran away with the game

The Bulls scored three tries in the last quarter to end any resistance by their fierce rivals.

Hendricks took Pollard’s three-man cut-out pass, beat Coetzee with a swivel on the touchline.

He was tackled short but reached out to dot down. Pollard also missed from wide.

The flyhalf soon had a score of his own, taking the ball to the gain line and crashing over next to the posts.

The 25-year-old converted his try to increase his side’s lead to 16 with less than a quarter of an hour remaining.

There was time for Libbok to get a score of his own when he came off the bench to score next to the poles in the 72nd-minute.

Libbok missed the easy conversion which would have brought up the half-century.

Warrick Gelant thought he had scored after the hooter, but Johnny Kotze’s lazy pass went forward, denying the fullback a five-pointer.

It did not matter, though, as the Bulls are off to New Zealand.

Final Score: Bulls 48 (31) Lions 27 (19)

Scorers

Bulls
Tries – Liebenberg (2), Gqoboka, Odendaal, Hendricks, Pollard, Libbok
Pen – Pollard
Con – Pollard (5)
Drop – Pollard
Cards – Snyman (Yellow, 48′)

Lions
Tries – Dayimani, Brink
Pen – Jantjies (4)
Con – Jantjies
Drop – Coetzee
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 1: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 2: Stefan Geldenhuys
TMO: Christie du Preez

Teams

Bulls

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handré Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.

Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Eli Snyman, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.

Lions

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Elton Jantjies, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (c), 1 Dylan Smith.

Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Wandisele Simelane, 23 Courtnall Skosan.

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3 Comments

  1. Bomber

    15th June 2019 at 8:00 pm

    I am struggling to understand the Bulls logic here. Win and they play the Hurricanes and Crusaders, while a loss meant they would play the Jaguares and Brumbies. I would have been resting all the stars, rather than flog them for 80 minutes. I would have happily have let the reserves lose, while enjoying a 7.5 days break, rather than a 6.5 days rest after a full 80 minutes.

    Jake White famously commented on the lack of intelligence in South African rugby. I think we can now add an explanation mark to that.

    • Kaylan Geekie

      16th June 2019 at 10:39 am

      Very true, although, I don’t know if it’s lack of intelligence so much as upholding the integrity of the sport by playing to win. South African rugby administration and coaching are not renowned for being innovative or pro-active in marginal gains. I, if I was the coach, probably would have done all that you suggested because it makes sense. Whether it’s right or wrong, that’s another matter.

  2. Super Rugby

    17th June 2019 at 2:14 pm

    I feel there is another side to this. The Bulls need full stadiums in order to make money and retain their players. Fans want a good experience when they go to a stadium. Beating the Lions in the final home match of the season would be considered a good experience for the home fans and will go some way to earning loyalty next season. Bulls fans are more likely to return next year after that performance. Had they lost or given a poor performance the fans would be less likely to return.

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