Bulls upset Hurricanes with late try

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Lynn McConnell     25 Feb 2018     Getty Images

It was a game of missed opportunities for the Hurricanes who now face a daunting trip to Buenos Aires to meet the Jaguares next week.

Hurricanes captain Brad Shields said it had been a disappointing loss.

"We know it's tough coming over here but we didn't live up to expectations and in that first half we really battled to get into the game and we had a bit of opportunity but we gave it away and those big boys were running it hard, putting it behind and putting us on the back foot," he said.

They would need to work harder off the ball and put themselves in good positions in future, he said.

Bulls captain Burger Odendaal said the plan had been to out-work the Hurricanes and it had worked out that way.

"We wanted to stick to our structures, not do anything fancy and the outcome will take care of itself and I think it definitely showed tonight," he said.

Impressive continuity play from the outset saw the Bulls open the scoring through wing Johnny Kolze after three minutes.

The Hurricanes responded after a strong run at the line by centre Vince Aso. The home team were penalised in defence and from the lineout option the Hurricanes drove efficiently at the line and it was hooker Ricci Riccitelli who was on the back of the maul as it drove over the line.

In the 17th minute, from a clean lineout take by lock Vaea Fifita the ball was moved through the line. Although it landed behind wing Wes Goosen, he reached back and ran hard, chipped ahead to regather the ball and then enjoy an easy run to the line through vacant spaces.

A swinging arm by prop Pierre Schoeman on Aso resulted in a yellow card and a penalty but from the following lineout, lock Lood de Jager contested the lineout and the Bulls gained the ball. Wing Travis Ismaiel pushed off Goosen's tackle and ran ahead to link with centre Jesse Kriel.

The Bulls continued to build and it appeared lock RG Snyman, who had moments earlier made a storming run through the midfield, had scored from a ruck but the TMO ruled the ball had been lost earlier in the move.

There was no doubt in the 33rd minute when Snyman made another strong run, this time linking with de Jager and the Springbok stretched out to beat the defence and score in the corner.

The Hurricanes thought they had a try when halfback TJ Perenara looked to have got the ball over the line after he had earlier created the impetus, but a check with the TMO ruled that it was unclear he had control of the ball when putting it down in the 48th minute.
Beauden Barrett was introduced in the 55th minute and made an immediate impact with a long penalty to the Bulls' 22m area. Strong runs by flankers Shields and Ardie Savea, and Fifita, carried the ball close to the line. Perenara pushed a kick through the close defence and when the rebound off a Bulls player fell to land, it was Barrett who picked it up and scored.

In the process he joined Dan Carter, Morne Steyn and Stirling Mortlock in the 1000 points Super Rugby club.

In the 70th minute a likely looking Hurricanes break was stymied when Pollard charged down a West chip ahead, regathered the ball and kicked it deep. Ardie Savea got back in cover but Kriel was on hand to tackle him and the Bulls gained the ball in the counter ruck. When the ball was cleared it was first half villain Schoeman who scored.

A possible late chance to claim a shot for a winning penalty goal was lost. Lock Sam Lousi had been played off the ball by Conraad van Vuuren but he retaliated and the penalty was reversed after a check with the TMO. As a result the Bulls were able to tie the ball up through the final stages and deny the Hurricanes a final chance.

Scorers: Bulls 21 (Johnny Kolze, Lood de Jager, Pierre Schoemann tries; Handre Pollard 2 pen) Hurricanes 19 (Ricci Riccitelli, Wes Goosen, Beauden Barrett tries; Ihaia West 2 con). HT: 16-12