The visitors outscored the Bulls by five tries to three
The Chiefs fought back to secure a dramatic 34-34 draw with the Bulls in a thriller at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The visitors outscored the Bulls by five tries to three, with two of them coming in the last five minutes as they salvaged three log points from what looked like an inevitable defeat.
The Bulls will know that they let a golden opportunity slip through their hands, with crucial defensive lapses costing them two log points in the end.
The Chiefs made a strong start to the game, winning an early penalty from a scrum just short of the Bulls' tryline, but Aaron Cruden pulled his kick wide from close to the touchline.
Instead it would be the Bulls who scored first when Jacques-Louis Potgieter slotted an easy penalty after some sloppy play by the Chiefs in their own 22.
The Chiefs hit back with a great try which was born from a turnover in their own 22. After Dean Greyling had knocked on just metres short of the tryline the visitors swept upfield with some impressive driving play, and once in the Bulls 22 Cruden found Mils Muliaina with a well-timed inside ball and the veteran fullback raced over for the try.
It was not long before they had another try, and it was the same formula as a loose ball from an attempted drop kick by Potgieter was snapped up and Liam Messam was on hand to provide the finishing touch as the Bulls defence opened up for him.
Potgieter cut their lead to 12-6 when Asaeli Tikoirotuma was blown up for driving his shoulder into Victor Matfield off the ball at a ruck, and the home side followed that up with a try to Deon Stegmann from a line-out drive.
Cruden hit the upright with a penalty attempt, but made no such mistake when he got another opportunity after a Chiefs try was disallowed by the TMO for a knock-on by Muliaina.
The Bulls had the final say before half-time when Tikoirotuma was pinged for deliberately obstructing Francois Hougaard, and they went into the break trailing 15-14.
The Bulls started the second half with real intent as first a big scrum put the Chiefs on the back foot before a storming line-out drive resulted in a penalty try and a yellow card for Chiefs lock Matt Symons who deliberately pulled it down just short of the tryline.
That put the Bulls back in front and they extended their lead soon afterwards when a loose pass from Cruden saw the ball swung out to Bjorn Basson who found some space on the outside and chipped ahead to score after Messam had made a hash of controlling the ball.
Another big scrum against the depleted Chiefs pack earned the Bulls another penalty right in front of the poles which Potgieter knocked over easily to take their lead out to 31-15.
The home side pushed hard for the bonus point try, but it was the Chiefs who scored next as Gareth Anscombe finished off a breathtaking try which started with a scrum in their own 22.
Potgieter slotted another penalty, but the Chiefs responded with a try from Symons which secured the bonus point, and another try from Cruden in the last minute gave Anscombe the chance to tie the game up which he did by landing the touchline conversion.
Man of the match: Although he missed a few tackles, Bulls legend Victor Matfield underlined his value by ruling the line-outs and making a few telling runs.
For the Bulls:
Tries: Stegmann, penalty try, Basson
Cons: Potgieter 2
Pens: Potgieter 5
For the Chiefs:
Tries: Muliaina, Messam, Anscombe, Symons, Cruden
Cons: Cruden 2, Anscombe
Yellow card: Matt Symons (Chiefs, 46 - Deliberate infringement)
Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Dewald Potgieter, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers.
Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Anton Lienert-Brown, 13 Andrew Horrell, 12 Tom Marshall, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Ben Afeaki, 19 Michael Fitzgerald, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Tim Nanai-Williams.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)