Bulls grind Lions down at Loftus

Sat, 01 Mar 2014 16:55
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The Bulls beat the Lions 25-17 at a wet Loftus Versfeld on Saturday to claim their first win of the season and hand the visitors their first defeat.

The Bulls beat the Lions 25-17 at a wet Loftus Versfeld on Saturday to claim their first win of the season and hand the visitors their first defeat.

The visitors outscored the Bulls by two tries to one in a match that was dominated by the boot in difficult conditions, but the home side did enough in the end to secure a valuable four log points.

Despite the constant drizzle, both sides played attacking rugby from the start which ultimately led to a host of handling errors.

The hosts had a slight edge over the Lions for most of the match with Bulls flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter adding an attacking dimension to the side.

It was, however, his performance with the boot that made him a valuable contributor to the victory with a conversion, five penalties and a drop-goal for 20 points in total.

His tactical kicking also helped the Bulls in playing in the Lions' half, while he drove the visitors back when the pressure was on.

It was a typical Bulls performance where the grinding work by the pack of forwards proved to be instrumental.

The Bulls built an early cushion with Potgieter succeeding with a penalty eight minutes into the match before he added three more points in the 11th minute.

A minute later - against the flow of the game - the Lions found their way over the whitewash after the restart.

Lions centre Stefan Watermeyer charged down a Jurgen Visser clearance kick which he collected to dot down, with flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff converting for a one-point lead to the Johannesburg franchise.

The Bulls, however, responded with a try of their own in the 23rd minute when Jan Serfontein finished a good facet of play.

The Pretoria side made quick and well-weighted passes to the edge of the field where a speeding Bjorn Basson made the most ground before he offloaded to Serfontein on his inside for the try, with Potgieter converting.

Boshoff pulled three points back with seven minutes left in the half before Potgieter slotted a drop-goal in the 35th minute.

Potgieter further extended the lead in the 37th minute with a penalty to give his side a 19-10 lead going into the half-time break.

The game went into a 20 minute lull after the break with neither of the teams finding it easy to score points.

Potgieter made the second half breakthrough with a penalty conversion in the 62nd minute before he scored his side's last points of the half with his fifth penalty six minutes from time.

With three minutes on the clock the Lions scored a consolation try courtesy of replacement hooker Willie Wepener.

Wepener charged down a Francois Hougaard clearance kick to fall on the ball for the five-pointer before Boshoff converted.

Man of the match: Flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter showed the Bulls what they had been missing in their first two games as he controlled the game superbly and asked questions of the Lions throughout.

The scorers:

For the Bulls:
Con: Potgieter
Pens: Potgieter 5
DG: Potgieter

For the Lions:
Watermeyer, Wepener
Cons: Boshoff
Pen: Boshoff


Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (captain), 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers.

Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Jacobus Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 20 Willie Britz, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Courtnall Skosan, 23 Coenie van Wyk.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Sieg van Staden (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

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