The Hurricanes hung tough in a gruelling final 10 minutes to edge the Vodacom Bulls 17-13 at Loftus Versfeld, in Pretoria, on Friday.
All Black winger Julian Savea scored his team’s only try – ultimately the difference between the two sides – to condemn the Bulls to their second defeat of the season and their first successive home loss since 2008.
It was the first time the Hurricanes won two in a row overseas since 2006, and the first time since 2010 they had won their first two games, making Chris Boyd’s start as coach of the Wellington franchise a superb one.
Still, while the Hurricanes were good, the Bulls really have themselves to blame.
Playing more like individuals than as a team, their scrum continues to creak, held together by bits of tape and referee leniency, while their lineout is hardly a force anymore.
But it is at the breakdown and on attack where they really lack urgency and focus, and where it seems as if individuals rather than a team stand out.
It would be easy to blame a defeat on Grant Hattingh’s fingertips that touched the whitewash when he went in at the corner with seven minutes to go.
The Bulls had worked the blindside well enough for Hattingh to ghost in, but inexplicably he reached out with his left hand, and the slow motion nightmare showed the fingertip touching the whitewash before the ball hit the ground.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke conceded that their struggles at the scrums and lineouts were further compounded by giving away turnovers at the rucks.
"It was a tight contest going down to the wire and in a contest like that small margins make a huge difference," Ludeke said.
"We had good opportunities in the right areas ... and almost losing your bread and butter position, that is costly."
As was the case a week ago in their defeat to the Stormers, the Light Blues made a promising start to the match with a dominant display in the first minutes.
Failing to convert this pressure into points, they allowed the tourists into the match and with that they lost their sense of urgency.
Bulls captain Pierre Spies said their inability to capitalise when they had momentum on their side was a concern, but he was confident they would be able to bounce back against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld next week.
"We are not converting pressure into points, what happened in the past two weeks is that we get into the right position and we make mistakes," Spies said.
"That is something we need to work on, we believe we are doing the right things but we are not executing it well enough.
"We believe we are on the right track and the players know we need to step it up and hopefully next week we can get a better performance."
Ludeke said there were some improvements from last weekend with their scrum looking a tad better.
"We were in the contest especially with the scrums. In the second half we were creating huge pressure there," he said.
"There were maybe one or two calls that could have created penalty opportunities, but if you lose your set-piece ball like last week you miss out on some golden opportunities to build pressure.
"We created opportunities from broken field, the set-piece was a battle from both sides, Jesse Kriel's line break just before half-time that was a great convert, and that is more of what you want."
The breakdown area was of particular concern to Ludeke which he termed a lottery.
"I thought we needed some numbers, there were two or three opportunities at the breakdown and we just had one or two guys there," Ludeke told Sapa.
"It was from linebreaks where the carrier was isolated and we needed support to get there quicker. We won't whine and we need to look after ourselves at that breakdown area."
Vodacom Bulls – Try: Handre Pollard. Conversion: Pollard. Penalties: Pollard (2).
Hurricanes – Try: Julian Savea. Penalties: Beauden Barrett (4).