Clinical Canes too good for Bulls
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Hurricanes, showing their clinical finishing skills, beat the Bulls 34-20 in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Canes moved up to second place in the New Zealand standings, with a bonus-point win with in a five-tries-to-two encounter.
It was the seventh loss in the last nine matches for Bulls.
The Bulls, in a week when it was revealed that former All Black coach John Mitchell is to become their Director of Rugby, showed promise at times.
The influence of Mitchell on the Pretoria outfit will be felt only next season, however, as he continues to coach the United States for June Tests against Ireland and Georgia.
Unlike the Hurricanes, the Bulls failed to convert many of the chances they created.
The defending champions, the Hurricanes, managed to secure the comfortable win despite missing star All Black flyhalf Beauden Barrett.
There was no immediate explanation as to why the All Black withdrew from the line-up at the last minute on his 26th birthday, and acted as a "water boy" instead.
Barrett is set to a key figure when the All Blacks confront the British and Irish Lions next month.
Otere Black came in at flyhalf and kicked two conversions and a penalty while fullback Jordie Barrett, a brother of Beauden, kicked a conversion.
The Hurricanes scored 95 seconds after the match started with Jordie Barrett darting down the middle after being set up by prop Loni Uhila.
Debutant wing Duncan Matthews went over at the other end following a clever chip from impressive Burger Odendaal before another centre, Hurricane Ngani Laumape, scored.
A couple of penalties from flyhalf Tian Schoeman, who also slotted a conversion, reduced the deficit to one point before wing Wes Goosen and lock Mark Abbott scored to give Hurricanes a 24-13 half-time lead.
Bulls had plenty of ball in the second half but fell behind 13-34 just part the hour, thanks in part to a try from replacement hooker Leni Apisai.
The South Africans were rewarded four minutes from time when Nick de Jager cut in to score a try which another substitute, Tony Jantjies, converted.
Man of the match: Duncan Matthews had a dream debut for the Bulls. Jordie Barrett had his moments, but his influence wasn't as great as usual. Ngai Laumape caused the Bulls' defence a few problems as well. However, Hurricanes scrumhalf Thomas Perenara, despite some of his petulant behaviour, was the biggest influence in the game and wins our award.
For the Bulls:
Tries: Matthews, De Jager
Cons: Schoeman, Jantjies
Pens: Schoeman 2
For the Hurricanes:
Tries: Barrett, Laumape, Goosen, Abbott, Apisai
Cons: Black 3
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jesse Kriel, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Abongile Nonkontwana, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Ulrich Beyers.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Thomas Perenara (captain), 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Loni Uhila.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Cory Jane, 23 Ben Lam.
Referee: Egon Seconds (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Jaco Pretorius (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)