Barrett's control and forwards secure Hurricanes' win
Sportal.co.nz 05 Apr 2014 Getty Images
The home team made it heavier work than necessary when failing to build on the possession they enjoyed in the first half, but another display of calmness from first five-eighths Beauden Barrett saw him dictate the pace of the game while adding 20 points with his boot, including an impressive 45m effort to kick the match-winner.
Flanker Jack Lam emphasised his value again toe the side with a dynamic game at the breakdown, winning possession, and penalties, on several occasions. His second half defensive tackle on halfback Francois Hougaard when he thought he was clear was superb. The only blot on his game was the missed chance on Handre Pollard's 66th minute try that gave the Bulls the lead for the first time in the game.
The Hurricanes stormed their way through the first half and should have been further ahead than the 16-13 advantage they enjoyed. From the outset the moved the ball through hands, limiting the number of lineouts the Bulls could use while the big men in the side, wing Julian Savea, lock James Broadhurst and returning No.8 Victor Vito were employed on the barge.
The subtler touches were provided courtesy of Barrett, centre Conrad Smith and fullback Andre Taylor.
Backing that was a scrummaging effort that put plenty of pressure on the big Bulls pack while there was little chance for the Bulls to employ their driving lineout maul.
Barrett was instrumental in the opening try 15 minutes into the game. In the Bulls 22m he received the ball and lobbed a perfectly-weighted punt across to Cory Jane on the right wing.
He was attended by the defence but guided the ball down and inside to Taylor who scored the try.
Not having taken advantage of the possession they enjoyed, the Hurricanes left themselves vulnerable to the Bulls creating something from nothing. It was first five-eighths Jacques-Louis Potgieter who put a high kick into the Hurricanes 22m area.
Broadhurst was back but unable to control the ball and fast following fullback Jurgen Visser secured the rebound and passed to Potgieter in support. He in turn fed back to Visser who scored for Potgieter to land the conversion to go with his two earlier penalty goals to get his side back to within three points.
The game took a heavy toll. Prop Ben Franks left the field after 30 minutes with a leg injury while earlier Deon Stegmann was assisted from the field soon after the start then just before half-time Dewald Potgieter left with an arm injury. Early in the second half Potgieter departed with a leg injury that he had suffered in the first half.
His replacement Handre Pollard had a chance in the 60th minute to draw the scores level but he hooked the ball.
Perenara bided his time in choosing to run but when he did in the 64th minute it was highly-effective as he slipped a grubber through and Taylor was onto it to see the ball up to the goal-line. Desperate Bulls defence conceded a penalty and Barrett landed his fourth penalty of the night.
But immediately the Bulls struck back to claim the lead. They had a six-metre lineout and looked to set up the maul, but the Hurricanes countered that superbly.
However, when it was moved to the backs Pollard found his way between Lam and flanker Faifili Levave and raced for a try which he converted.
Scorers: Hurricanes 25 (Andre Taylor tries; Beauden Barrett, con, 6 pen) ) Bulls 20 (Jurgen Visser tries; Jacques-Louis Potgieter con, 2 pen). HT:16-13
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