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Jordie and Beauden Barrett help Hurricanes book Super Rugby semi-final spot

TJ Perenara, Ben Lam and Rayasi all scored tries to book a semi-final meeting with the Canterbury Crusaders.

Beauden Barrett in action for the Hurricanes.
Beauden Barrett in action for the Hurricanes.
Image: AAP/PA Images

THE WELLINGTON HURRICANES overcame a yellow card and a rampaging Bulls second half to claim a 35-28 victory on Saturday and book a Super Rugby semi-final date with the Canterbury Crusaders.

There were four tries apiece and the Hurricanes needed two penalties by Jordie Barrett to keep their noses in front and make the final four.

It continued the dominance of the homeside in the play-offs after the Crusaders beat the Otago Highlanders and the Jaguares downed the Waikato Chiefs in the first two matches.

Replacement back Salesi Rayasi was the hero-turned-villain for the Hurricanes with two tries as they shot out to a 29-14 lead before being sent to the sin-bin which sparked a late Bulls revival.

“It was play-offs footy. The first half was good and then they came back in the second half and it went down to the wire,” a relieved ‘Canes captain Dane Coles said.

“There were a couple of big moments in that second half, obviously the sin-binning. We dropped the ball and they scored points. The little mistakes can have a massive effect.”

Bulls captain Handre Pollard, said an indifferent first half cost his side. “A couple of bounces didn’t go our way and we let in a couple of soft tries which cost us in the first half. But the fightback was unreal,” he said.

Source: SUPER RUGBY/YouTube

The under-sized Hurricanes pack — conceding 25 kilograms (55 pounds) to the burly Bulls and dwarfed in the lineouts by the 2.01 metre (6ft 10in) Jason Jenkins and his 1.97m partner RG Snyman — held their own as they steadily built a lead in the first half.

TJ Perenara, Ben Lam and Rayasi scored tries, all converted by Beauden Barrett who also landed a penalty as the ‘Canes turned 24-14 ahead with the Bulls points coming from tries to Warrick Gelant and Cornel Hendricks, both converted by Handre Pollard.

But after Rayasi scored his second try just after the resumption, the Bulls pack used their superior size to set up camp on the Hurricanes line.

They won a penalty try from a deliberate knockdown by Rayasi, which saw the ‘Canes outside back sent to the sin-bin.

After Jordie Barrett kicked his first penalty, the Pretoria-based Bulls — appearing in the knockout stages for the first time since 2013 — closed within four points when Hendricks crashed over for his second try.

Once Jordie Barrett kicked his second penalty, to create a seven-point margin, the giant Snyman stole a Hurricane’s lineout after the final hooter sounded.

But the Bulls bid for a converted try to force the match into overtime ended when Hendricks knocked the ball on a few metres short of the line.

- © AFP, 2019

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