The Lions showed that they aren't ready to be dethroned as South Africa's best Super Rugby team when they beat the Bulls 49-35 in a pulsating South African derby at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Lions maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign after scoring seven tries against their Gauteng rivals, who were badly hampered by the sin-binning of replacements Conraad van Vuuren and Nic de Jager and a penalty try in the second half.
The Bulls got off to a brilliant start when Marnitz Boshoff converted their early pressure into three points in the seventh minute of the match. But the Lions soon showed their forward power by rumbling over for two tries from a lineout maul. Props Ruan Dreyer and Jacques van Rooyen were on the end of those tries.
Boshoff kicked another two penalties, but the Lions scored another converted try when flyhalf Elton Jantjies smartly put lock Marvin Orie away to score with a pin-point grubber kick.
The Bulls, though levelled the scores with tries either side of the break. Johnny Kotze collected a Handré Pollard chip to score in the 35th minute, before Pollard himself went over the tryline less than a minute after the break.
But the Lions started to put the Bulls under the pressure with ball in hand. Malcolm Marx scored for the visitors in the 50th minute, and piled on even more pressure when Van Vuuren was carded for a repeated offence and De Jager was sent to the bin for pulling down a Lions maul, which lead to the penalty try.
Lions wing Sylvian Mahuza and scrumhalf Ross Cronje then crossed the tryline to pull the Bulls out of sight. However, Lizo Gqoboka and Travis Ismaiel scored for the Bulls in the last two minutes to make the scoreline more respectable.