Nine-try Bulls run rampant against Lyon to book Champions Cup quarter-final spot

Nine-try Bulls run rampant against Lyon to book Champions Cup quarter-final spot

The Bulls reached the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup for the first time ever after they thrashed Lyon 59-19 in Pretoria on Saturday.

Against a side that were clearly prioritising the Top 14, the South Africans ran rampant, constantly cutting apart the visiting defence.

They touched down three times in the opening half-hour through Sebastian de Klerk, Embrose Papier and Marcell Coetzeee. Martin Page-Relo's effort reduced the arrears, but Ruan Vermaak went over to ease them 28-7 ahead at the interval.

Lyon were handed a boost at the start of the second period after being awarded a penalty try following Canan Moodie's high tackle, but they failed to take advantage. Instead, the Bulls went over through Willie le Roux and Papier, who is very much putting himself in Springbok contention, while Moodie was off the field.

That put the result beyond doubt but there was still time for David Kriel, Chris Smith and De Klerk to go over late on to complete the rout.

Lyon disappointedly named a second-string outfit for this Champions Cup round-of-16 tie and it showed. While the shackles were off, with the Frenchmen regularly off-loading out of the tackle, the mistakes were plenty and their opponents were utterly ruthless.

It wasn't long before the Bulls had gone over for the first time when Le Roux's stunning pass out wide allowed De Klerk to get the ball rolling.

A few minutes later and the hosts were 14-0 in front, thanks to Papier, who had an easy run to the line after another error from the Top 14 team.

Credit must go to Kurt-Lee Arendse after the wing scythed through and fed the scrum-half for the score, but Lyon's slow reaction to the turnover rather summed up their performance.

As would Coetzee's try, with the flanker finding it all too easy to power through weak tackling to make it 21-0.

The visitors would hit back via a bizarre try when Page-Pelo crossed the whitewash while the Bulls players were stationary, thinking that time had been stopped by referee Luke Pearce.

Unperturbed, the South Africans responded and restored their 21-point buffer by the interval when Vermaak scored.

Lyon improved at the start of the second period and forced Moodie into a mistake when he tackled Page-Relo high. That resulted in a yellow card and a penalty try, giving the visitors hope, but that was quickly extinguished.

Instead of the Frenchmen increasing the pressure, it was the Bulls who dominated despite being down to 14 men.

They touched down twice while Moodie was off the field with both Le Roux and Papier going over with 27 minutes of the match still remaining.

Abrahams did get one try back for Lyon, but the hosts continued to dominate and added gloss to the scoreline through Kriel, Smith and De Klerk.

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