Hurricanes survive tough Bulls test to make Super Rugby semis

Hurricanes' Beauden Barrett runs the ball during the Super Rugby match between New Zealand's Hurricanes and South Africa's Bulls at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on 22 June 2019

Hurricanes' Beauden Barrett runs the ball during the Super Rugby match between New Zealand's Hurricanes and South Africa's Bulls at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on 22 June 2019

The Hurricanes have reached the Super Rugby semi-finals for a fifth straight season after holding out the hard-charging Bulls 35-28 in Wellington.

Argentina's Jaguares will host the other semi-final against either the Australian conference champion ACT Brumbies or South Africa's Sharks.

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

The 22-year-old, who also scored two tries after he replaced the injured Wes Goosen in the 19th minute, conceded a penalty try when he attempted to intercept the ball as South Africa's Bulls looked nearly certain to score in the corner. "We let in a few soft tries but the fight from the boys was unbelievable".

They got a sensational start with Samu running 35 metres to score barely 60 seconds into the match. A set-piece from a lineout put them further in front with Speight dotting down and Lealiifano converting both tries. Referee Nic Berry awarded a penalty try and sent him to the sinbin.

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.

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.

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But even so, they'll watch it and choose a team that they prefer, that's just how we are you know. They won't like me saying that".

"It was play-offs footy". We dropped the ball and they scored points.

They were at their best when they were direct via their massive forwards or engaged in a set piece - success which will not have gone unnoticed by the Crusaders - but were a little fragile when the ball was put in behind them and for them to get a result at Westpac Stadium almost everything needed to go right.

The under-sized Hurricanes pack held their own as they steadily built a lead.

Warrick Gelant had scored the first try of the game and Cornal Hendricks crossed six minutes before the break, but three tries in the space of 10 minutes and nine points from the boot of Beauden Barrett made it advantage the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes' TJ Perenara is showing support to Salesi Rayasi after he was sinbinned for a deliberate knockdown in their game against the Bulls.

The final quarter saw only Jordie's penalty being the only points as Hurricanes completed a seven point thrilling win. But the Bulls bid for a converted try to force the match into overtime ended when Hendricks knocked on.

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