Key Points:

    Hurricanes 34 Bulls20

The Hurricanes are back up to second on the New Zealand conference, but they had to work hard for their corn at Loftus.

Coach Chris Boyd warned earlier in the week that the Bulls would be "angry" after some dusty recent results.

That might be over-egging it, but there was certainly more starch in the home side's approach, while the Hurricanes punched themselves out on the high veldt after some devastating opening salvoes. They did secure the bonus point, for which they will be grateful, and now sit on 48 points, three clear of the Chiefs and Highlanders.


That victory was without significant attacking input from 13-try centre Vince Aso and blindside flanker Vaea Fifita, though they both got through some tackling.

First five Otere Black was a late inclusion for late scratching Beauden Barrett, whose 26th birthday was restricted to waterboy duties.

Boyd said after the match that they were cautious with Barrett who had suffered headaches since arriving in South Africa but the team doctor couldn't say whether they were due to a head knock he received against the Cheetahs or adapting to the altitude in Pretoria.

It looked ominous for the Bulls before a sparse crowd as, after just 90 seconds, Jordie Barrett sliced through off a sweet short ball by Loni Uhila.

The Bulls' reply was swift and deadly, debutant wing Duncan Matthews scoring after a chip and regather from a lineout. Ngani Laumape showed his finishing skills are still razor-sharp as he zipped in for his 12th try of the season, and when Wes Goosen and Mark Abbott crossed before halftime, the floodgates may have creaked open.

But Ardie Savea departed the fray after a nasty, but accidental, head clash and the Hurricanes started to tire after Leni Apisai's try. The Bulls brought heavy defence and drive on the carry, but they lack sophistication on offence.

No 8 Brad Shields was work-rate personified, while Jordie Barrett was good, and TJ Perenara won the man of the match gong. But the visitors could not quite arrange all the pieces in the correct order.

"We came up against a very tough Bulls team that had a point to prove. They didn't allow us to play the way we wanted to play," says Perenara.

The Bulls now have five weeks to regroup, while the Hurricanes are in Perth next Saturday night against the Force.

Hurricanes 34 (Jordie Barrett, Ngani Laumape, Wes Goosen, Mark Abbott, Leni Apisai tries; Otere Black 2 con, pen, J. Barrett con) Bulls 20 (Duncan Matthews, Nick de Jager tries; Tiaan Schoeman con, 2 pen, Jantjies con) HT: 24-13