The Vodacom Blue Bulls started their Absa Currie Cup campaign in a disappointing way by losing 41-13 to the Xerox Golden Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The halftime score was 23-3 to the host, who outplayed the visitors with ease.
This first-round match had it all - excitement, drama and controversy.
In the end the Xerox Golden Lions provided most of the entertainment and walked away with a commanding four-ties-to-one win, reports rugby 365.
The Lions made their intentions clear from the moment Stokkies Hanekom stepped past JJ Engelbrecht and went on to score under the upright.
Marnitz Boshoff lander the conversion and a penalty 10 minutes later, before slotting one of his trademark drop-goals - as the home team, resplendent in their original blue jersey with a white hoop, as the home team held a 13-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Boshoff slotted a second penalty, just past the half-hour mark, before Ruan Combrinck intercepted and raced 60 metres to ensure his team took a 23-3 lead into the half-time break.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls showed, early in the second half, they were not going to give the game away on a silver platter - when Sampie Mastriet slid over in the left corner, a score that required the assistance of the TMO before it was awarded. The conversion made it 10-23. And that became 13-23 when Jacques-Louis Potgieter slotted his second penalty in the 48th minute.
Jaco van der Walt - on for the injured Marnitz Boshoff - slotted his first penalty, before Potgieter misses a sitter - leaving the Lions two converted tries (26-13) ahead - going into the final quarter.
Van der Walt made it 29-13 soon afterwards, before Jaco Kriel wen over next to the uprights - following some sublime interpassing - with the conversion making it 36-13.
All that was left was for the Golden Lions to get a bonus-point fourth try and that came in the form of a powerful rolling maul in the final minute - Warwick Tecklenburg getting the armchair ride over the line. The conversion was wide of the mark, but 41-13 was a true reflection of the Lions' second-half dominance.
Xerox Golden Lions: Tries: Jaco Kriel, Ruan Combrinck, Stokkies Hanekom, Warwick Tecklenburg. Conversions: Jaco van der Walt, Marnitz Boshoff (2). Drop Goal: Boshoff. Penalties: Van der Walt (2), Boshoff (2).
Vodacom Blue Bulls: Try: Sampie Mastriet. Conversion: Jacques-Louis Potgieter. Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (2).