Hurricanes tame the Bulls in tight contest

06:42, Apr 06 2014
2014 Hurricanes season
Conrad Smith leads out the Hurricanes for their opening Super Rugby game against the Sharks in Durban.
2014 Hurricanes season
Halfback TJ Perenara looks to generate some quick ball against the Sharks.
2014 Hurricanes season
Marty Banks of the Hurricanes out jumps Ryan Kankowski of the Sharks.
2014 Hurricanes season
Adam Hill takes on the Sharks defence in Durban.
TJ Perenara
Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara attempts to toe the ball forward during the second half against the Stormers.
Cory Jane
Canes wing Cory Jane is all smiles after scoring in Port Elizabeth.
Julian Savea
Julian Savea crosses the line to score against the Stormers.
Hadleigh Parkes
Hadleigh Parkes evades the tackle of a Stormers defender in Round 3.
Beauden Barrett
Beauden Barrett converts Cory Jane's try from the sideline.
2014 Hurricanes season
Adam Hill of the Hurricanes is tackled by Jesse Mogg of the Brumbies in Wellington.
2014 Hurricanes season
Blade Thomson goes over the score against the Brumbies in Wellington.
2014 Hurricanes season
Beauden Barrett makes a break for the Hurricanes against the Brumbies in Wellington.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricanes players cannot hide their dejection after losing to the Brumbies at home.
Conrad Smith
Conrad Smith breaks through a Hurricanes banner as he runs onto the field for his 100th match.
Conrad Smith
Conrad Smith poses in front of a fan's banner celebrating his 100 Super Rugby matches.
Conrad Smith
Conrad Smith high-fives Motu Matu'u after the big hooker scored against the Cheetahs.
Chris Smylie
Halfback Chris Smylie makes a break down the sideline as Julian Savea calls for the pass.
Dane Coles
James Marshall grabs Dane Coles around the face after a Hurricanes try.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett congratulates Tim Bateman after the his side beat the Crusaders in Christchurch.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricanes centurion Conrad Smith celebrates a much-needed win for his team over the Crusaders.
2014 Hurricanes season
Alapati Leiua goes over to score the match-winning try for the Hurricanes against the Crusaders.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara spins a lovely pass from a ruck against the Crusaders.
2014 Hurricanes season
The Hurricanes and Bulls packs get ready to engage at McLean Park in Napier under the gaze of referee Steve Walsh.
2014 Hurricanes season
Julian Savea makes a break for the Hurricanes against the Bulls in Napier.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricane Brad Shields is wrapped up by a swarming Bulls defence at McLean Bark.
2014 Hurricanes season
Jeremy Thrush shows his delight at the final whistle as the Hurricanes beat the Bulls.
2014 Hurricanes season
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes and James Horwill of the Reds share a moment's silence to mark Anzac Day.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea celebrates his try against the Reds at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
2014 Hurricanes season
Reds halfback Will Genia, right, tries to get to the ball ahead of Hurricanes winger Julian Savea.
2014 Hurricanes season
Chris Feauai-Sautia of the Reds looks dejected as the Hurricanes players celebrate another try in Wellington.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Andre Taylor of the Hurricanes evades the tackle of Kane Douglas of the Waratahs.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Kurtley Beale of the Waratahs meets some stern Hurricanes defence in Sydney.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes scores a try against the Waratahs in Sydney.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Hurricanes Conrad Smith and Cory Jane chase after the Waratahs' Rob Horne.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Alapati Leiua of the Hurricanes is tackled by Bryce Hegarty of the Rebels.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes passes whilst being tackled by Luke Jones of the Rebels.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes reacts after being sent to the sin bin against the Rebels in Melbourne.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes scores a try despite the efforts of the Rebels' Tom English.
Lolagi Visinia and Julian Savea
The Hurricanes Julian Savea gets away from Blues Lolagi Visinia.
Bryn Hall and Beauden Barrett.
The Blues' Bryn Hall chases down Hurricane Beauden Barrett.
Julian Savea
Julian Savea celebrates the Hurricanes' win over the Crusaders during their Round 17 Super Rugby match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Dan Carter
Dan Carter of the Crusaders looks to make a break against the Hurricanes during his first Super Rugby appearance of the season.
Ryan Crotty
Ryan Crotty, captain of the Crusaders, is tackled by Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes during their Super Rugby clash at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Andy Ellis
Andy Ellis of the Crusaders and Dane Coles of the Hurricanes scuffle during their round 17 Super Rugby match.
Asaeli Tikoirotuma
Asaeli Tikoirotuma from the Chiefs during his side's 24-16 win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton.
Hadleigh Parkes
Hadleigh Parkes from the Hurricanes celebrates a try during his side's Super Rugby clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Ben Tameifuna
Ben Tameifuna of the Chiefs steps out of the tackles of Ardie Savea (left) and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes during his side's round 18 Super Rugby win in Hamilton.
Jeremy Thrush
Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes charges into Liam Messam of the Chiefs with the assistance of Ben Franks (left) during the round 18 clash between the two sides at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
Ardie Savea
Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes is tackled by Chiefs captain Aaron Cruden during the round 18 fixture at Waikato Stadium.

Two in a row for the first time this year, but the Hurricanes made hard work of their 25-20 frantic struggle to put away the Bulls in Napier tonight.

Consistency has been a major issue for the Hurricanes this year. Every time they seemed to turn the corner they had crumbled the following week.

In-front of 9000 at McLean Park, they brought the required intensity and banked a crucial victory that improved their season to three wins and four losses - a far cry from the 0-3 start to the year.

canes
Beauden Barrett of the Hurricanes is tackled by Bjorn Basson and Jurgen Visser of the Bulls.

But no-one will be fooled into thinking the Canes have the right recipe just yet, having been out scored two-tries-to-one, though at least they are still in the fight. 

On the way to the match, the Hurricanes' bus broke down and the Bulls' bus had to double back and pick them up.

Maybe the Canes felt a duty to repay the favour. It sure seemed that way as they continually invited the visitors back into a match they once had complete control over.

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From the outset the Hurricanes attempted to play at a frenetic pace, forcing the Bulls to make 42 tackles in the opening eight minutes alone.

Led up-front by prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen, lock James Broadhurst and flanker Faifili Levave, the link play from the Canes forwards split the South Africans up the middle, just as the Chiefs had in Pretoria last week.

Beauden Barrett broke the contest open with a perfectly-placed cross-field kick for the opening try. Cory Jane, back after two weeks on the outer, flicked the ball inside to Andre Taylor, the fullback who has made such a dramatic difference to the Canes mentality on attack.

Clearly buoyed by their win over the Crusaders last week, the hustle from the home side epitomised their shift in attitude. They chased kicks with vigour, contested every scrap of possession and laid on some huge hits on defence. Jack Lam was his usual influential self and Canes scrum even had surprising dominance.   

Bulls flanker Deon Stegmann and All Blacks prop Ben Franks were causalities of brutal collisions at the breakdown during the firsthalf. 

Despite being totally outplayed, the visitors stuck a crucial blow just before the break with fullback Jurgen Visser latching on to an up-and-under to close the gap to 13-16 at halftime.

Mark Hammett's men then went off the boil with ball security and ill-discipline proving problematic. They became disjoined, lacking patience and pushing passes which allowed the tiring Bulls to breathe and revert back to their favoured slow grind.

It took 25 minutes for Barrett to secure the first points of the secondhalf and the Bulls weren't done yet.

With a superb left-foot step, replacement Handre Pollard turned the game on its head. After the Bulls rolling maul was defused, Pollard went straight through Lam and Levave - no mean feat - to put his side in the lead for the first time with just over 10 minutes to play.

But Barrett, who kicked 18 points, nailed a pressure penalty in the 74th minute to save his side and keep spirits alive.  

It proved to be just enough.

Hurricanes 25 (Andre Taylor try, Beauden Barrett 6 pen, con) Bulls 20 (Jurgen Visser, Handre Pollard try, Jacques Louis-Potgieter 3 pen, Pollard con). HT: 16-13

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