JOHANNESBURG, April 14 (Reuters) - The Bulls ran rampant as they thumped the Lions 32-18 in an all-South African Super Rugby match in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Pretoria-based Bulls scored five tries to two to consign the hapless Lions to their sixth consecutive defeat.
The margin of victory could have been a lot higher if Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn had not missed three conversions and two penalty kicks.
The victory was the Bulls’ fifth out of seven matches.
“The first half was quite tough but we got our game going in the second half,” Bulls captain Pierre Spies said.
“The Lions were very good on defence but we are glad we got a bonus point because going forward that could be very important,” he added.
The unfancied Lions made a fast start to the match and took the lead in the second minute when scrumhalf Tian Meyer charged down a kick from Steyn before gathering the loose ball to go over for a converted try.
Lions outside centre Jaco Taute kicked a long-range penalty kick as the hosts moved into a 10-0 lead after 15 minutes.
But the Bulls dominated possession and finally breached the Lions defence in the 18th minute when wing Akona Ndungane went over in the right-hand corner after a powerful midfield surge from number eight Spies.
The Bulls proceeded to score a further 15 unanswered points in the half as their forwards began to take control of the contest.
Steyn succeeded with a penalty before scrumhalf Francois Hougaard showed tremendous strength to force his way over for a converted try.
The visitors grabbed their third try on the stroke of half-time when fullback Zane Kirchner crashed over in the corner after some splendid interplay between the Bulls’ backs and forwards to go into the break leading 20-10.
The Bulls secured their bonus-point try less than a minute after the restart when Ndungane collected a cross-field kick from Steyn before feeding flank CJ Stander who crossed untouched for an unconverted score.
Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies responded with a penalty but the Bulls were in a remorseless mood and lock Juandre Kruger grabbed his team’s fifth try after a jinking 30-metre run from outside centre JJ Engelbrecht.
The hosts were not completely deflated and, as the match entered the final quarter, Josh Strauss stretched over to score after his team had taken the ball through 17 phases of play. (; Writing by Jason Humphries in Durban; Editing By Alison Wildey)