• The day the Bulls stepped up a gear

    The 20-20 half-time score in Pretoria gave the Lions a false sense of security against the Bulls in 2012, recalls JEREMY PROOME.

    The men from Johannesburg were having a horrible season after losing 12 matches, but did have a couple of bright moments with victories over the Sharks (round 15) and the Rebels (round 17) at Ellis Park.

    Josh Strauss’s dejected side had nothing to lose in the final round when they visited Loftus.

    They opened the scoring with a penalty from Elton Jantjies, and despite conceding two tries shortly after through Akona Ndungane and Bjorn Basson, they hit back through Michael Bondesio and the captain himself to make it 20-20.

    The Lions were in control during the last 10 minutes of the first half, and it looked like the wooden-spooners could pull off the upset of the season, or at least give the Bulls a run for their money.

    But the Bulls returned to the field and Francois Hougaard put on a phenomenal second half which saw him named Man of the Match.

    A great individual try from the Springbok scrumhalf and an important contribution from now-Waratah Jacques Potgieter gave the Bulls their bonus point and a 37-20 win.

    With that result, the Lions were relegated from Super Rugby.

    Bulls – Tries: Akona Ndungane, Bjorn Basson, Francois Hougaard, Jacques Potgieter. Conversions: Morné Steyn (4). Penalties: Steyn (3).
    Lions – Tries: Michael Bondesio, Josh Strauss. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties: Jantjies (2).

    Bulls – 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
    Subs: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Deon Stegmann, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 Francois Venter.

    Lions – 15 James Kamana, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (c), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
    Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Ross Cronjé, 21 JR Esterhuizen, 22 Ruan Combrinck.

    Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix