PRETORIA – Prop forward Pierre Schoeman’s try eight minutes from time saw the Bulls come from behind to beat the Hurricanes 21-19 in both side’s opening Super Rugby match of the season at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
It was a debut win in the competition for the Pretoria team’s new coach, former All Black boss John Mitchell, against the 2016 winners of the annual southern hemisphere competition.
A Beauden Barrett try just before the hour mark had seen the Hurricanes take a 19-16 lead as the Kiwi flyhalf became only the fourth player to pass 1 000 points in Super Rugby.
But a charge-down near the halfway line from Handré Pollard set up the try for Schoeman to turn the result in favour of the hosts.
The Bulls took an early lead as Johnny Kotze went over on the wing.
However, after 20 minutes, the Hurricans had gone 12-8 ahead after Ricky Riccitelli’s try and a clever chip and chase by wing Wes Goosen saw him cruise over.
Schoeman was then sin-binned, putting the new-look Bulls under further pressure, but despite having a man down they crossed the Hurricanes’ line twice.
The first effort from RG Snyman was adjudged to have been knocked-on, but the giant lock burst through the line to set up his fellow second-rower Lood de Jager for a 13-12 lead, extended to 16-12 at the break when Pollard kicked a penalty.
The Hurricanes did well to battle the effects of the altitude and take control of the game. However, they proved too tired in the final 10 minutes to hold on for the victory.