Johannesburg – The Golden Lions were able to take a full house of five points from their Currie Cup match against the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday, beating their Gauteng rivals 35-26.
The Blue Bulls were thoroughly outplayed but did manage to take a bonus point out of the game as they scored four tries, two in the last seven minutes.
The Lions were unable to take real advantage of two yellow cards dished out to the Bulls in the first half, going into the break only 13-7 ahead.
Bulls fullback Clayton Blommetjies was yellow-carded in the 19th minute for a trip, while flyhalf Tony Jantjies followed him to the sin-bin 13 minutes later after handling the ball in a ruck on his own tryline.
“Defence is all about attitude” is a truism that is bandied around a lot in rugby and the Bulls paid the price for some lacklustre tackling in the first half.
Lions right wing Andries Coetzee forced his way through two poor tackles to open the scoring in the sixth minute and flank Jaco Kriel then raced down the left touchline to score in the 15th minute as the Lions exposed the Bulls defence with ease.
Scrumhalf Rudy Paige seized an opportunity provided by a hole in the Lions defence to score the Bulls' opening try in the 30th minute, but the hosts remained in firm control.
They devoured the Bulls at the lineouts and stretched their lead to 20-7 five minutes into the second half when prop Ruan Dreyer powered over for a try, which was laid on by Coetzee once again injecting some pace into the attack down the right-hand side of the field.
The Lions were then content to play the percentages, with flyhalf Elton Jantjies and fullback Marnitz Boshoff dominating the kicking battle.
The Bulls did briefly threaten to get back into the game when wing Bjorn Basson scored the first of his two tries in the 55th minute.
However, the Lions were once again in obvious control just two minutes later when scrumhalf Ross Cronje broke through on a wrap-around move and replacement prop Jacques van Rooyen muscled his way over the tryline.
The strong running of the Lions' forwards, in particular tighthead Dreyer, then led to a try by Boshoff midway through the second half, stretching the home side's lead to 32-14.
The Bulls kept themselves off the bottom of the log by scoring two late tries by centre Francois Venter and Basson, but the visitors were well-beaten as the pain continues for coach Pine Pienaar and captain Jono Ross.
Golden Lions 35 (13): Tries: Andries Coetzee, Jaco Kriel, Ruan Dreyer, Jacques van Rooyen, Marnitz Boshoff. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties: Elton Jantjies, Boshoff.
Blue Bulls 26 (7): Tries: Rudy Paige, Bjorn Basson (2), Francois Venter. Conversions: Tony Jantjies (3). – Sapa