The Hurricanes cruised to a comfortable 20-34 over a dismal Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, scoring five tries to two.
The game was in the balance at the break at 13-14 to the Canes, after Tian Schoeman kicked two penalties and converted debutant Duncan Matthews’ fifth-minute try.
The Kiwis scored twice in the first 40 minutes through Jordie Barrett and Ngani Laumape.
The Hurricanes scored three more tries after the break through Wes Goosen, Mark Abbott and Leni Apisai, as they ran out with a bonus-point victory on the highveld.
This was the New Zealander’s tenth win in twelve matches this season, keeping them in contention for the playoffs.
The Bulls, well, this was their ninth loss in twelve and their season has been so poor, Nollis Marais will almost certainly not survive John Mitchell’s arrival.
The game burst into life with Jordie Barrett’s 2nd-minute try, before Matthews scored to make it 7-7 inside five minutes.
Ngani Laumape scored to put his team 7-14 up after Otere Black’s second conversion. The centre punched through a gap and ghosted through to score.
Tian Schoeman added two penalties to reduce the deficit to a point at the break at 13-14 before a double blow from Goosen and Abbott, on the stroke of half-time, opened up an 11 point lead.
Both scores came from the Hurricanes using the ball well and going through the phases with pace and intensity. They camped on the Bulls try-line at the end of the first-half, when kicking out, would have been easier.
They kept the pressure on their hosts and it paid dividends. Black kicked a 58th-minute penalty to extend the lead to 13-27 going into the final quarter.
Apisai’s try, two minutes later, ended the game as a contest. The Kiwi’s bench had been emptied and the fresh legs managed to keep the Bulls at bay until De Jager’s late try.
The forwards score flattered Marais’ team, when in fact, the Hurricanes had taken their foot off the gas in the last 20 minutes.
Despite this, they still held the Bulls to only seven second-half (inconsequential) points.
Final score: Bulls 20 (13) Hurricanes 34 (14)
Tries – Matthews, De Jager
Pen – T. Schoeman (3)
Con – T. Schoeman (2)
Tries – J. Barrett, Laumape, Goosen, Abbott, Apisai
Pen – Black
Con – Black (3)
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 1: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Ref 2: Jaco Pretorius
TMO: Christie du Preez
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.
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10Otere 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 Corey Jane, 23 Ben Lam.