The Hurricanes went into their Super Rugby match against the Bulls in Pretoria on Sunday morning looking to control momentum, pressure and tempo.

They weren't able to control any of those aspects of the game when the time came, and fell to a slim 21-19 defeat.

After preparing specifically for the match for the best past of four months, Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd was left dumbfounded by his side's sluggish performance.

"That's probably the worst performance we've had in the three and a bit years that I've been involved in the Hurricanes," Boyd said.

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"I don't think there'd be anybody that would give themselves a pass mark for that."

Bulls lock Lood de Jager sprints away from Hurricanes duo TJ Perenara and Ihaia West to score. Photo / Getty Images.
Bulls lock Lood de Jager sprints away from Hurricanes duo TJ Perenara and Ihaia West to score. Photo / Getty Images.

A late try by Bulls prop Pierre Schoeman proved to be the difference-maker in the end, but the Bulls looked firmly in control through out the fixture - even when they went a man down after Schoeman was shown a yellow card in the first half.

The Hurricanes had been preparing for the match since late November, knowing they've have to combat the altitude in Pretoria. However, they still tired early and were unable to put a good performance together.

The home side made the best of a dismal start by the Hurricanes, scoring eight points inside the opening seven minutes of the game.

After the way his side started, Boyd said he knew it was going to be a rough day and took no consolation out of claiming a bonus point from the loss.

"In the period of time I've been coaching, I don't think I've ever been involved in a game where we've prepared so well and delivered so little, so that was really disappointing.

"When you play poorly and lose, or even when you play poorly and win, when you deliver a performance that you're not proud of which collectively across the management coaches and players nobody's proud of that performance, so you're always searching for reason.

"I think you've got to be really careful that you don't chuck the baby out with the bathwater and point the finger at something. There'll be some lessons and learning in there across a whole lot of areas really, but we've just got to go back to the drawing board."

The Hurricanes also came out the of encounter with injury concerns to Wes Goosen (ankle sprain) and Toby Smith (cut chin) who would be evaluated ahead of their trip to Argentina to face the Jaguares next weekend.