Canes lose Barrett to headaches but beat Bulls

The Hurricanes overcame the late withdrawal of All Blacks first-five Beauden Barrett to beat the Bulls 34-20 in Pretoria and claim their 10th win of the Super Rugby season.

Star playmaker Barrett withdrew from the side just before kick-off due to headaches, as the visitors managed a convincing bonus-point victory at Loftus Versfeld.

First-half tries from fullback Jordie Barrett, centre Ngani Laumape, South African-born wing Wes Goosen and lock Mark Abbott gave the Hurricanes a 24-13 halftime lead.

Hooker Leni Apisai crossed for their only try of the second half.

The Bulls, who announced New Zealander John Mitchell as their new coach and executive of rugby on Friday, looked more competitive than in recent weeks, and scored tries through wing Duncan Matthews and loose-forward Nick de Jager.

The Hurricanes are second in the New Zealand Conference behind the table topping Crusaders with 10 wins from 12 this season, while the Bulls suffered a ninth defeat of their dismal 2017 campaign.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said the source of Barrett's headaches was still unclear, but he had been withdrawn from the match by the medical team as a precaution.

Barrett left the field at halftime during last weekend's win over the Cheetahs in Wellington, passed a concussion test and had shown no symptoms until the team landed in Johannesburg.

Although the team doctor was unsure whether his headaches were due to travel, altitude or humidity, it was decided the day before the match to withdraw him from the Bulls match the day before kick off as a precaution.

Barrett had exercised earlier in the week without any issues, Boyd said.

A physical second half against the Bulls became something of an arm wrestle as the travel factor began to kick in for the Hurricanes.

Ardie Savea departed after a head clash with Black and blindside Vaea Fifita was noticeably effected by cramp as the match wore on.

Lock Mark Abbott also appeared to suffer concussion symptoms in this morning's win over the Bulls, putting him, Barrett and Savea in doubt for their next match against the Western Force in Perth.