Bulls dominate second half but Lions prevail in thrilling affair at Ellis Park
The restoration of the Lions' Currie Cup campaign continued here but the John Mitchell inspired Blue Bulls served notice that they are soon to graduate from being viewed 'a work in progress'.
This was a cracking game in which fortunes wildly fluctuated and it required a late surge from the Lions to get the job done after the Bulls completely dominated the second half.
The Bulls foisted upon the Lions a brand of rugby which would have resonated with those who watched developments in Albany earlier in the day.
The team under the influence of a Kiwi coach played with pace into space, which is some departure from the bump and grind that was once the bedrock of their success.
A game that accentuates the movement of the ball wasn't enough against the Lions but the day the current crop of Bulls start operating with a pack with greater grunt may well prove a game changer on the domestic scene.
Their ball in hand approach carried inherent risk but adroit ball players like Warrick Gelant looked a menace when he ran the ball from deep.
The Lions by contrast sought the body contact in the tight exchanges and made headway in territory gained.
Just when it looked like that approach was going nowhere, the Bulls started to buckle.
The Lions' scrum, which is again propped up by the experience of Jacobie Adriaanse at tighthead, delivered early body blows.
They however failed to carry that dominance into the second half.
They applied the squeeze for the remainder of the first half and the Bulls were under the cosh.
Something had to give and after repeated infringement referee Egon Seconds had little option but to banish Bulls flank Jannes Kirsten to the bin in the 19th minute.
The Lions profited from the ensuing line-out penalty that saw Robbie Coetzee crashing over for a converted try.
The Lions however immediately relinquished their numerical advantage when industrious second rower Andries Ferreira saw yellow.
The Lions' forwards however started to dominate and Rohan Janse van Rensburg applied the finishing touches on two occasions.
The Bulls delivered a stirring second half display before the Lions struck decisively inside the last 10 minutes.