PRETORIA (Reuters) - Winger Jamba Ulengo scored a brace of tries as the Bulls denied the visiting Jaguares top spot in the South African conference with a 43-34 Super Rugby victory at Loftus Stadium on Saturday.
With top spot guaranteeing a home quarter-final, the Jaguares remain three points behind the Lions with a single game remaining in the round-robin competition.
The loss ended a seven-match winning streak for the Argentines, who face a difficult clash away to the Sharks in Durban next weekend as they look to earn a place in the playoffs for the first time.
The South Americans raced into a 19-point lead by the end of the first quarter but the three-time champion Bulls suddenly sparked into life and ultimately claimed a comfortable victory, outscoring the visitors six tries to five.
The other scores came from centres John-Ben Kotze and Jesse Kriel, scrumhalf Embrose Papier and lock Marco van Staden as the Pretoria-based Bulls claimed a sixth victory of what has been a disappointing season.
The Jaguares let in a number of soft scores but showed they are still a potent attacking force with a try from flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez and braces for flanker Pablo Matera and scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou.
The visitors led 19-0 inside 20 minutes after tries from Sanchez, Matera and Bertranou, the first from the flyhalf with an excellent solo run before he turned provider for the second with another clean break.
But the Bulls scored three tries of their own in the second quarter to take a 21-19 lead into halftime, an advantage that was extended by a penalty early in the second period from flyhalf Handre Pollard.
The Jaguares grabbed the lead again though when Bertranou profited from a turnover and a fine run from fullback Emiliano Boffelli to dot down his second.
The Bulls took control of the game around the hour-mark, however, with Ulengo going over in the corner for his first and Van Staden crashing through some weak tackles to add a fifth try for the hosts.
Ulengo scored again in similar fashion as the Bulls spread the ball wide to create an overlap in the corner that opened up a 14-point lead on the scoreboard.
Matera closed the gap with his second try after the hooter, but a missed conversion from Boffelli saw the losing bonus-point slip from their grasp.
Reporting By Nick Said, editing by Nick Mulvenney