Hurricanes see off Reds in Brisbane
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Hurricanes stayed within touching distance of the Crusaders and the Chiefs at the top of the New Zealand conference with a 34-15 bonus-point win against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
The defending champions outscored their opponents by five tries to two, but they did not have it all their own way throughout the match.
It took the Hurricanes 13 minutes to break through the Reds' defence after controlling the possession in the early stages. TJ Perenara increased the lead a few minutes later when he picked off a Reds pass to grab the second try of the game.
Jordie Barrett was on song with both conversions to hand the visitors a 14-0 lead.
But they were reduced to 14-men in the 24th minute when Ngani Laumape was shown yellow for a late tackle. The Reds took advantage of the extra man to score two tries in quick succession.
Chris Kuridrani and Scott Higginbotham the men to dot down. Jake McIntyre managed a solitary conversion in the first half to see his side trail 12-14 at the break.
Vince Aso opened the second half scoring when he was handed a gift following a massive Ardie Savea break to hand the Hurricanes a 19-12 lead after 47 minutes. The Reds came back firing but the Hurricanes' defence was solid.
Mark Abbott thought he had grabbed a minute try after an insane counter-attack that started inside their 22 but he stepped into touch just as he was about to dot down.
With the clock winding down, the Hurricanes continued to waste opportunities before Jordie Barrett increased his team's lead to 10 points with a penalty in the 69th minute.
The Reds hit back with a McIntyre penalty soon after before Jordie Barrett scored a converted try in the 73rd minute to give his team some breathing space heading into the final minutes.
It was Beauden Barrett who put the game to bed in the 79th minute when swiveled his way over the tryline after sustained pressure in the Reds' 22.
Man of the match: Markus Vanzati was always on the look out for work and got over the gain line with nearly every carry while Scott Higginbotham was at his best. Beauden Barrett was solid with his tactical kicking while Julian Savea ran riot. Ardie Savea was a menace at the breakdown and TJ Perenara controlled matters brilliantly. Our award goes to Jordie Barrett who had a near-flawless all-round performance.
For the Reds:
Tries: Kuridrani, Higginbotham
For the Hurricanes:
Tries: J Savea, Perenara, Aso, J Barrett, B Barrett.
Cons: J Barrett 3
Pen: J Barrett
Yellow card: Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes, 24 - late tackle)
Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia'aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Markus Vanzati.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Kirwan Sanday, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Hendrik Tui, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Izaia Perese.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Pita Ahki.
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Amy Perrett (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)