The Bulls and the Sharks both faltered in their bid to reach the semi-finals of the 2019 Super Rugby campaign, while the Jaguares made history by qualifying for the semis for the first time.
The Bulls lost 35-28 to the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday morning, while the Sharks went down 38-13 to the Brumbies in Canberra.
The Jaguares managed to edge the Chiefs 21-16 in a close-fought affair in Buenos Aires and they will now take on the Brumbies in the first semi-final to be determined next weekend.
The Crusaders defeated the Highlanders 38-14 in their playoff game to set up a semi-final clash with the Hurricanes next Saturday in Christchurch.
Brumbies gallop over Sharks into semis
The Brumbies galloped to a 38-13 triumph over the Sharks on Saturday afternoon in Canberra to book a Vodacom Super Rugby semi-final clash with the Jaguares next weekend in Buenos Aires.
The Brumbies led 24-6 at halftime after they made the most of their attacking play in the first half, while the visitors from Durban struggled to get out of the starting blocks.
Unfortunately for the Sharks, they suffered two early injury blows and that interruption had an adverse effect on their performance in the first half. They lost influential loose forwards Dan du Preez and Tyler Paul due to injury in quick succession in the first quarter of the first half.
Playing in front of a passionate crowd, the Brumbies crossed the visitors’ tryline on five occasions, with No 8 Pete Samu netting a brace, while they also kicked five conversions and penalty.
Powerful inside centre Andre Esterhuizen barged over for the Sharks’ only try in the second half while Curwin Bosch kicked the conversion and two penalty goals.
The Brumbies got off to a flying start when No 8 Samu raced away to score the opening try with barely one minute of play on the clock. That set the tone for the encounter, with the home side forcing the visitors on the back foot for much of the match.
Although Bosch moved from fullback to flyhalf in the latter stage of the game, he was unable to ignite what would have been a massive comeback against a very organised and determined Brumbies outfit.
The Canberra outfit must now travel to Buenos Aires for their semi-final clash next Saturday with the formidable Jaguares.
Brumbies 38 (24) – Tries: Pete Samu (2), Christian Lealiifano, Joe Powell, Matt Lucas. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (5). Penalty: Lealiifano.
Sharks 13 (6) – Try: André Esterhuizen. Conversion: Curwin Bosch. Penalties: Bosch (2).
Spirited Bulls pipped in Wellington
The Bulls produced a great effort but it was not enough to stop the Hurricanes from a close-fought 35-28 win in their Super Rugby quarterfinal clash on Saturday morning in Wellington.
The ‘Canes led 24-14 at the halfway stage and the men from Pretoria produced a sterling effort in the second half to chase the Kiwi side all the way. The result means that the Hurricanes will now play the Crusaders in one of next weekend’s two semi-finals.
Tthe Jaguares booked their first semi-final appearance when they battled their way to a hard-fought 21-16 victory over Chiefs in Buenos Aires.
Meanwhile Wellington, the Hurricanes scored four tries, three conversions and three penalties while their Pretoria opponents crossed the tryline three times, gained a penalty try and kicked three conversions.
Former Springbok wing Cornal Hendricks showed his class and experience out wide by scoring two well-executed tries. Hurricanes utility back Salesi Rayasi had an equally impressive game and he also dotted down twice. However, he spent 10 minutes in the sin bin for a deliberate knock down when Hendricks was about to score another certain try, leaving the referee with no choice but to award a penalty try.
After completing an exhausting travel schedule from Pretoria to Wellington, the Vodacom Bulls came very close to a win in this exciting match, however, they will admit that the many unforced errors they committed eventually led to their downfall at the Cake Tin.
Hurricanes 35 (24): Tries: TJ Perenara, Ben Lam, Salesi Rayasi (2). Conversions: Beauden Barrett (3). Penalties: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett (2).
Bulls 28 (14): Tries: Warrick Gelant, Cornal Hendricks (2), penalty try. Conversions: Handre Pollard (3).
Friday, 21 June:
Crusaders 38, Highlanders 14
Saturday, 22 June:
Jaguares 21, Chiefs 16
Hurricanes 35, Bulls 28
Brumbies 38, Sharks 13