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Rayasi stars as Hurricanes edge Bulls in humdinger

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The Hurricanes beat the Bulls 35-28 in an entertaining eight-try quarter-final battle at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.

Salesi Rayasi and Cornal Hendricks both grabbed braces for their teams, while Rayasi was also yellow-carded in the second half for cynical play.

It was a tale of the two wings.

They shared four tries, Rayasi was fended off by Hendricks for the South African’s first score, and he was carded, stopping a certain Hendricks’ try, allowing the Bulls to fight back.

Hendricks lost the ball into touch after the hooter, ending his side’s season.

The Hurricanes survived a late siege to book their place in the next round.

Pote Human’s men can feel aggrieved because some calls went against them, but they could not land a killer blow.

Ardie Savea won a vital turnover – yet again – to keep the Bulls at bay.

The reward for John Plumtree’s men is to travel to Christchurch to take on the Crusaders, who are hot right now.

The result continues South Africa’s terrible playoff record in New Zealand.

Defeat is the 14th in the Land of the Long White Cloud by the men from the Republic.

Hurricanes blow Bulls away with 12-minute 21-point blitz

An entertaining first-half saw the Hurricanes capitalise on elementary Bulls’ errors and punish their opponents.

They took a commanding 24-7 lead after tries by TJ Perenara, Ben Lam and Rayasi inside half-an-hour.

Beuden Barrett opened the scoring with an 11th-minute penalty, but the visitors hit back through Warrick Gelant, two minutes later.

Lam and Rayasi extended the home team’s lead with two scores in quick succession.

Hendricks reduced the deficit to 10 with a try before halftime.

No South African franchise had ever won a knockout match in New Zealand the 24-year history of Super Rugby, the closest losing margin being 10 points.

The Bulls had it all to do.

Mistakes continue to cost Bulls points

The South Africans were the architects of their own downfall.

Handré Pollard dropped Beauden Barrett’s spiral-bomb, and the error led to Rayasi getting his second try of the game, four minutes after the restart.

Rayasi was sin-binned for a deliberate knockdown, leading to the TMO awarding a penalty try to the visitors.

Super Rugby Quarter-Final Video Highlights: Hurricanes versus Bulls, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Trevor Nyakane’s mistake after the restart hurt his team because Jordie Barrett added three more from the tee.

But the Bulls fought back

Some inspiration from Pollard, atoning for his earlier error, saw the flyhalf set up Hendricks for his second with a pin-point cross-kick.

Pollard’s third conversion reduced the deficit to four points with 20 minutes to play.

The Bulls had a return of four points with the extra man; however, they conceded another Jordie Barrett penalty with less than 15 minutes remaining.

Rosco Specman almost scored in the corner but was denied.

Fletcher Smith went close but knocked on with the try-line at his mercy, a minute later.

The Bulls withstood a late Hurricanes attack that lasted five minutes inside their 22 before almost taking the game to extra time.

Hendricks, the Bulls hero, could not hang onto the ball after a 12-phase attack after the hooter.

Instead, the Hurricanes held on to book their place in the final four.

Final Score: Hurricanes 35 (24) Bulls 28 (14)

Scorers

Hurricanes
Tries – Perenara, Lam, Rayasi (2)
Pen – B. Barrett, J. Barrett (2)
Con – B. Barrett (3)
Drop –
Cards – Rayasi (Yellow, 52′)

Bulls
Tries – Gelant, Hendricks (2), Penalty try
Pen –
Con – Pollard (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 2: Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Glenn Newman

Teams

Hurricanes

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Toby Smith.

Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ben May, 19 Kane Le’aupepe, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 Richard Judd, 22 James Marshall, 23 Salesi Rayasi.

Bulls

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handré Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.

Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.

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