Lions unable to stop Jake White's raging Bulls

05 February 2022 - 17:20
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Zak Burger of the Bulls in action during the United Rugby Championship match against the Lions at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria on February 5 2022.
Image: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images Zak Burger of the Bulls in action during the United Rugby Championship match against the Lions at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria on February 5 2022.

The Bulls clinched another crucial win, 21-13 against the Lions at Loftus on Saturday, as they continue to tidy up the mess they created for themselves at the beginning of the United Rugby Championship (URC).

The Bulls managed only one win over Cardiff before the tournament was severely disrupted by the emergence of the Covid-19 Omicron variant in December forcing the rescheduling of fixtures.

Jake White’s men are yet to hit the high gears in terms of performance but they did enough to comfortably beat the struggling Lions on Saturday and move away from the bottom half of the table.

The Bulls went to back-to-back victories over the Lions in this Jukskei derby, having beaten them 34-10 last weekend at Ellis Park where they outscored them by three tries to one.

In this match, the Bulls completely dominated the Lions as they once again scored three tries from the efforts of Marcel Coetzee, Johan Grobbelaar and Kurt-Lee Arendse.

The other highlight for the Bulls was the performance of the peerless flyhalf Morné Steyn, who was spot on with the boot to find the middle of the poles with his three conversions and instrumental in directing traffic.

The Lions, who looked lethargic for most of the match, only managed two penalties from Tiaan Swanepoel and a late consolation try by Ruben Schoeman.

The Lions will have to significantly improve their work as they welcome the Stormers in Johannesburg next weekend where they will be looking to stop the bleeding.

The Bulls, on the other hand, will be looking to continue with their upward trajectory against the Sharks, who will travel to Loftus with Springbok stars Siya Kolisi, Thomas du Toit, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi and Lukhanyo Am on Saturday.

The Lions took an early lead through two penalties scored by Swanepoel.

The Bulls managed territory but were let down by mistakes like knock-ons and not being clinical in the scrums to let the Lions off the hook from good scoring positions in the early exchanges.

The Bulls were on the scoreboard after 25 minutes when captain Marcell Coetzee led from the front with the opening try of the match as rain started to come down in Hatfield.

For the opening try that gave the Bulls a one-point the lead, Coetzee overpowered the Lions defence after they went for a tap-and-go on the edge of the try line.

The Bulls increased their lead shortly before the halftime hooter when Johan Grobbelaar touched down after a powerful rolling maul by the home side as they began to take this game by the scruff of the neck.

Highly-rated hooker Grobbelaar, one of the breakthrough players for the Bulls under the guidance of White, went to the break with his spirits sky-high as this was his third try in three matches.

The Bulls increased their advantage eight minutes into the second half when exciting Kurt-Lee Arendse benefited from a good attacking move for the third try of the game.

The Lions scored their consolation try in the closing stages through Schoeman but the damage was done.

Bulls (14) 21 — Tries: Marcel Coetzee, Johan Grobbelaar, Kurt-Lee Arendse; Conversions: Morné Steyn (3)

Lions (6) 13 — Try: Ruben Schoeman; Conversion: Tiaan Swanepoel (1); Penalties: Tiaan Swanepoel (2)