Johannesburg - The Blue Bulls pulled off an impressive 32-26 (half-time 6-13) win over the Leopards XV in their North Section Vodacom Cup clash at the Leeudoring Rugby Club in Leeudoringstad on Saturday.
The men from Pretoria at one stage trailed by 17 points in the third quarter, but surged clear with four second-half tries that saw them secure victory from the jaws of defeat.
A second triumph of the campaign has seen the Bulls move up to fifth position, while the more-fancied Leopards blew the chance to move up to second place as they remain in fourth on 12 points.
Bulls' flyhalf Louis Fouche was first to strike with a fourth-minute penalty, but George Tossel's try in the 11th minute put the home side in front, and Gerhard Nortier consolidated the advantage with the conversion and a subsequent penalty.
Fouche responded with a second three-pointer of his own, but Nortier again was on the mark from the kicking tee as the Leopards took a useful seven-point advantage into the break.
It was to get even better for the hosts though, as substitute SJ Niemand crashed over the chalk early in the second half, and when Nortier notched up his first try of the day in the 51st minute, they appeared to be well in control as they enjoyed a 23-6 lead.
But Nortier had been unable to convert either of the second-half tries, and it kept the Bulls in the picture. Reniel Hugo then completed a well-worked five-pointer in the 60th minute, and a converted try from winger Sampie Mostert five minutes later meant the gap had suddenly narrowed to three.
A tense Leopards side could only watch on in horror as the Bulls rode the wave of momemtum with a third try of the day courtesy of Sidney Tobias to put them in front by four, and although substitute Justin Botha offered the Leopards some hope with a late drop goal, William Small-Smith crashed over in the corner at the death to complete the bonus point and a remarkable come-from-behind victory for the Bulls.
Leopards XV - Tries: George Tossel, SJ Niemand, Gerhard Nortier; Conversions: Gerhard Nortier; Penalties: Gerhard Nortier (2); Drop goal: Justin Botha
Blue Bulls - Tries: Reniel Hugo, Sampie Mastriet, Sidney Tobias, William Small-Smith; Conversions: Jesse Kriel (2), Joshua Stander; Penalties: Louis Fouche (2)