South African teams bowed out of Super Rugby for another season as both the Bulls and the Sharks were beaten in the quarter-finals. The Bulls lost narrowly to the Hurricanes, while the Sharks were well beaten by the Brumbies.

The Hurricanes now travel to the Crusaders in the semi-finals, while the Brumbies are off to Buenos Aires to face the Jaguares, who beat the Chiefs 21-16 in their quarter-final.

The Bulls played to their strengths in Wellington against the Hurricanes. Working from a solid platform, with good hands and a sublime line break from Jesse Kriel, Warrick Gelant went over in the corner for the opening try.

The Hurricanes scored three tries in 10 minutes to put the Pretoria side on the backfoot, but they would not go away quietly. Cornal Hendricks demonstrated his potent finishing ability, even when he appeared to be painted into a corner, and at halftime the Bulls were trailing 24-14, but still very much in the game.

While the Hurricanes were quickest out the blocks in the second half, the Bulls stuck to their guns and continued to pressure the home side.

Hendricks was denied a second try, but with Salesi Rayasi adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball down, he earned himself a yellow card and the Bulls were awarded a penalty try. The visitors then proceeded to exploit their numerical advantage, Handre Pollard put through a deft cross field kick that found Hendricks for his second try of the match and the men in blue were drawing ever closer.

Hunting their third consecutive draw on New Zealand soil, but this time to send them into extra time, the Bulls mounted one last attack. Hendricks could not hang on to the ball and it was heartbreak for men from Pretoria as the Hurricanes advance to face the Crusaders in Christchurch, 35-28 the final score.

Bulls captain, Handre Pollard, says they fought, but things didn’t go their way.

“We fought the full 80 and a couple of bounces here and there didn’t go our way tonight. I think we let in a couple of soft tries that cost us in the first half, but the spirit from the boys and the fight back was unbelievable.”

The Sharks would have been full of confidence after a strong showing in Australasia in the regular season, but that hope of progressing was dimmed severely as the Brumbies blew them off the park in Canberra. With three tries in the first half, twice they exploited lazy defending from the Sharks’ first defenders and then they orchestrated an unstoppable driving maul to go 24-6 up at half time.

The Sharks were a more determined outfit in the second 40 minutes, Andre Esterhuizen crashed over for their opening try. However, they were also their own worst enemy because when the Brumbies got a sniff in the second half, Joe Powell was away and the Australian franchise was on their way to a semi-final. 38-13 was how it ended, with the Brumbies up against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires next weekend.