Super Rugby

Bulls gore Lions and end Ellis Park losing streak




The Bulls beat the Lions 12-30 in an entertaining Super Rugby derby at a hot and humid Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

Pote Human’s side ended the Jukskei derby away hoodoo, which goes back to 2012, with a powerful display in the City of Gold.

Duane Vermeulen and Warrick Gelant crossed for the Bulls and Handré Pollard kicked 20 points from the tee as the Pretoria side collected the bragging rights.

Lions‘ props Carlu Sadie and Dylan Smith both scored for the hosts, but Swys de Bruin’s team could not undo their poor first 50 minutes, which proved costly.

Video Highlights: Lions versus Bulls 

Blue Bulls give Lions the runaround

The Bulls dominated the first half with 66 per cent possession and 77% territory, making 265 metres to 91 as the Lions toiled in the heat of the City of Gold.

Pote Human’s side’s defending was strong, making 36 of 40 tackles while the hosts made 71, missing 18.

Pollard kicked two penalties to put the Bulls up by six. SuperXV’s Man of the Match Schalk Brits was immense.

The 37-year-old has turned back the clock; he carried with conviction, often making it over the gain line.

He won crucial turnovers at the breakdown, showed his usual sleight of hand with one-handed offloads on the wing when he wasn’t taking crash-ball at first receiver.

It is a wonder he ever retired in the first place because he is performing at an elite level that no other hooker is playing, including the one-man wrecking crew that is Malcolm Marx, the Springboks incumbent.

Rassie Erasmus cannot overlook Brits for the World Cup; he might even start if the Boks played tomorrow.

Ruan Combrinck on Rosco Specman after Warrick Gelant’s mini-break through the midfield. The winger kept Specman honest and the Blitzboks legend rarely got the better of his opposite number.

Bulls wasteful, letting Lions off the hook

The Bulls were profligate, however. They spilt chances near the try line, gave away silly penalties in good field position and their handling was poor, at best.

But the Lions were a non-entity; they had no ball, no threat and no chances to release the pressure.

Kwagga Smith was penalised for holding (to the disgust of the Joburg faithful) before the visitors, finally, crossed the whitewash.

Specman sparked another attack, beating two tackles. The ball was recycled quickly and sent wide to Vermeulen, who bashed his way over.

Lizo Gqoboka was throwing himself about, making tackle after tackle during the Lions’ rare foray into Bulls territory.

Specman was free on the outside, but he could not gather Gelant’s grubber.

Brits rolled back the years, almost taking a wayward Marx lineout throw, however, he knock-on with the try line at his mercy.

Another Pollard penalty closed out a miserable half for the hosts, but they had only conceded one try despite spending the game inside their 22.

At the same time, they were fortunate to have zero.

De Bruin’s men fight back after the interval

Last year’s runners-up have not been the best South African team for the past three seasons because they got rolled over. They fight.

There is too much quality in the squad and they showed their worth after the break. The Lions’ pack got stuck into their opponents.

Pollard extended the lead to 17 with his fourth penalty.

Kwagga Smith and Marnus Schoeman started winning turnovers and disrupted Embrose Papier’s quick ball, stopping it at the source.

The front row began to grunt, winning scrum-penalties. The big men were the inspiration for the home team’s fight back.

Specman got penalised for a high tackle, from which Elton Jantjies kicked to the corner.

The driving maul started to function, too and Sadie bulldozed his way over to put his team on the board.

Jantjies missed the sideline conversion, but at least his side had some points – and something for the support to cheer.

Pollard kept chipping away at the scoreboard, kicking yet another penalty. The flyhalf was punishing his opposition with a masterclass from the tee.

Brits won another penalty at the breakdown and again, Pollard made no mistake.

Schoeman burst through a ruck and found Dylan Smith in support. No-one was stopping the burly prop finishing under the sticks.

Human’s side had gone from a comfortable three-score lead to repelling a resurgent Lions, who’d cut the deficit to five and were finding their mojo.

But the Lions could not find the killer blow, instead, it was the away team.

With time running out, the Bulls pulled themselves together, got out of their half and launched a series of sustained attacks.

Help came in the form of some questionable game-management by the hosts.

The Lions botched a quick lineout throw from near their try line. Ivan van Zyl snapped up the loose ball and set up a counter-attack.

Pollard sent the ball wide to Gelant, who strolled over in the corner to kill the game.

Final Score: Lions 12 (0) Bulls 30 (14)


Tries – Sadie, D. Smith
Pen –
Con – Jantjies
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Vermeulen, Gelant
Pen – Pollard (6)
Con – Pollard
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Ref 2: Griffon Colby
TMO: Marius Jonker

Match Officials
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Ref 2: Griffon Colby
TMO: Marius Jonker


Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Marnus Schoeman, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (captain), 1 Dylan Smith.

Replacements: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Vincent Tshituka, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Franco Naude, 23 Courtnall Skosan.

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Dylan Sage, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.

Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbock, 23 Divan Rossow.

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