The Golden Lions beat the Blue Bulls 24-12 in their Vodacom Cup match in Johannesburg on Friday.
Both sides recorded bonus-point wins in their two opening games and the winner of this contest would leapfrog the other to the top of the North Section log.
The hosts were full value for their 24-0 half-time lead, with tries from fullback Damian Engledoe, wing Anthony Volmink and hooker Malcolm Marx. Ashlon Davids added all the conversions and slotted a penalty, while resolute defence denied the Bulls throughout the first half.
The Bulls, though, rallied back in the second stanza and pegged the Lions back for the majority of the half. They turned the pressure into points through reserve utility back Kefentse Mahlo’s brace in the 44th and 61st minutes respectively. Flyhalf Kobus Marais converted the first five-pointer, but skewed the second.
Mahlo went from hero to villain when he was yellow-carded in the 70th minute and took with him any momentum the Bulls had built in the lead-up to his sin-binning.
Elsewhere, the SWD Eagles outscored the Free State XV three tries to two for a 33-17 win in George to move to the summit of the South Section log. Fullback Elric van Vuuren kicked 19 points – five penalties and two conversions – to set up victory for the hosts, after Free State flank Peet Coetzee's brace cancelled out Alshaun Bock's double for the Eagles.
Golden Lions (24) – Tries: Anthony Volmink, Damian Engledoe, Malcolm Marx. Conversions: Ashlon Davids (3). Penalty: Davids.
Blue Bulls (12) – Tries: Kefentse Mahlo (2). Conversion: Kobus Marais.
SWD Eagles (33) – Tries: Alshaun Bock (2), Ashley Buys. Conversions: Elric van Vuuren (3). Penalties: Van Vuuren (4).
Free State XV (17) – Tries: Peet Coetzee (2). Conversions: Coenie van Wyk, Noel Marx. Penalty: Van Wyk.
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Pumas vs Limpopo
Boland vs Western Province
Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images