Pretoria – The Bulls won their first match of the season with a 25-17 victory over the Lions in a stop-start encounter at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
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 new 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 penalty conversions 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 goal 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 conversion 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 goal 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.
Scorers: Bulls 25 (19): Tries: Jan Serfontein, Conversion:
Jacques-Louis Potgieter. Penalties: Potgieter (5). Drop goal:
Lions 17 (10): Tries: Stefan Watermeyer, Willie Wepener. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (2). Penalties: Boshoff. – Sapa