Lions flyhalf Gianni Lombard blew it at the death, sending a drop goal attempt to win the match wide after the fulltime hooter allowing the Bulls to clinch a thrilling 33-32 bonus point win in their Currie Cup match at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors led the game from as early as the third minute, but the hosts stayed in the fight throughout and went into the final five minutes trailing by just one point.
The Lions then mounted a final attack from a lineout as the clock ran red, working their way onto the Bulls 22m, with the ball passed back to Lombard in front, only for him to pull his drop goal attempt wide to give the Bulls a valuable win.
At the start of the match the Bulls got off to a flying start with two tries in the opening five minutes which gave them an early 12-0 lead.
First from a scrum on the Lions 22m they attacked, going through a few phases before lock Ruan Nortje offloaded to eighthman Elrigh Louw to crash over for the converted score, before the Bulls soon found themselves back in the Lions 22m with David Kriel reaching over to dot down.
The Lions hit back with an opportunistic try in the 11th minute as the Bulls knocked the ball on after a scrum in their own half, with eighthman Francke Horn toeing the loose ball ahead a few times and diving on it over the line.
Scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba nailed the conversion and landed a 17th minute penalty to make it 12-10.
The Bulls however powered back with another quick double strike as they attacked into the Lions 22m, where scrumhalf Embrose Papier showed great strength to power through a couple of tackles to score, with flyhalf Johan Goosen adding the extras.
The visitors then showed great hands on attack in the Lions 22m, as the ball found its way to prop Mornay Smith to dive over for the converted score and a 26-10 lead after 21 minutes.
The Lions had to hit back before halftime and they did in the 30th minute as they powered a maul towards the Bulls line, where hooker Johan Grobbelaar brought it down illegally, leading to a penalty try and yellow card.
Nohamba then slotted a penalty a minute before the break to bring the Lions within six points at halftime.
The second half then started with Lions wing Edwill van der Merwe scoring a try of the season contender as he picked up a loose ball on his own 22m after the Bulls lost their own lineout, and set off on a mazy run before showing a great turn of pace to score in the corner to make it 26-25 after 45 minutes.
The Bulls however hit back five minutes later as they took a quick tap in the Lions 22m, bashed away at the line and flank Marcell Coetzee crashed over to score, with Goosen’s conversion giving them a 33-25 lead.
The Lions then made it a one point game in the 71st minute as they set a lineout deep in the Bulls 22m, setup a maul and attacked from it, with replacement scrumhalf Morne van den Berg breaking and offloading to Van Der Merwe to go in for his second, leading to a dramatic finish.
Lions: Tries - Francke Horn, Penalty Try, Edwill van der Merwe (2)
Conversions - Sanele Nohamba, Gianni Lombard
Penalties - Nohamba (2)
Tries - Elrigh Louw, David Kriel, Embrose Papier, Mornay Smith, Marcell Coetzee
Conversions - Johan Goosen (4)