PRETORIA – The Bulls produced one of their best performances of the season as they ran in seven tries to beat the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday and qualify for this year’s Super Rugby quarter-finals.
Pote Human’s men ended the league campaign as South Africa’s best team, having won eight of their 16 games, to be fifth overall. They will now travel to Wellington to play New Zealand’s second best team, the Hurricanes, who finished fourth, in the quarter-finals for a place in the last four.
For the Lions, who managed to cross the tryline just twice in a hugely entertaining game, it is the end of the road. They finished in ninth place overall – one place and one point outside the playoff places – and won’t feature in the knock-out rounds, for the first time since 2015.
In the other quarter-finals this coming weekend, the top-placed Crusaders will host the Highlanders (eighth), who snuck in on the final weekend, the Jaguares (second) will play the Chiefs (seventh), and the Brumbies (third) will entertain the Sharks (sixth), who also snuck in at the death after beating the Stormers in Cape Town.
The action at Loftus Versfeld started as early as the opening seconds when the Lions scored through No. 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, who was sent on his way by wing Aphiwe Dyantyi who received the kick-off and darted up-field before off-loading to his team-mate. The conversion by Elton Jantjies put the visitors 7-0 up inside a minute, but it would be the Lions’ only try of the half as the Bulls ran riot.