Hurricanes hold off hard-charging Waratahs
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Hurricanes held on for a 38-28 win against in the face of a late charge by the Waratahs in Wellington on Friday.
The Hurricanes scored six tries to four, including a brace for Ngani Laumape, as they took a 33-7 lead into the half-time break.
They then lost concentration in the second half, allowing the visitors from Australia back into the game.
However, you never got the feeling the Waratahs could win, even when they closed the gap to just 10 points in the last 10 minutes.
The Waratahs' skills at times looked worse than what you would encounter at an Under-9 C team level, while their attempts at a rush defence left more holes than a rusty sieve.
Add to that their rickety set piece game and it is glaringly obvious why they were never in the game.
There was an improvement in the Waratahs' game after the break, but the Hurricanes - despite having taken their collective feet off the gas - still had enough energy to stay out of danger.
The Hurricanes also extended Australia's Super Rugby misery against New Zealand teams.
The defending champions' win means Australian Super Rugby teams' record against New Zealand opposition this season is 12-0.
The losing sequence extends to 17 when matches from last season are included, with the Waratahs' Round 14 win over the Chiefs in May 2016 the last Australian success.
But Tahs captain Michael Hooper insisted there were plenty of positives to take from a game in which they outscored the Hurricanes 21-5 after the break.
"Our fight can't be questioned," Hooper said,, adding: "We threw it in the last 40 [minutes], but the first 20 is an issue for us and it's really frustrating."
The Hurricanes stunned the Waratahs with a try after 90 seconds as Ngani Laumape finished off a sweeping move inspired by Beauden Barrett's run around three defenders.
Laumape returned the favour five minutes later when he plucked a stray Waratahs pass to set up Barrett to get one of his own.
Jordie Barrett then added a third to leave the Waratahs down 21-0 after just 12 minutes.
Ned Hanigan put the Waratahs on the board with the visitors' first attack of the match, making the most of a one-man advantage after Beauden Barrett was sin-binned for an offside infringement.
But it was a temporary reprieve as Wes Goosen went through unmarked on the wing, then Mark Abbott swooped on a bungled Waratahs line-out to make it 33-7 at half-time.
The Waratahs looked like a different team immediately after the restart, rocking the Hurricanes with two quick tries to Bryce Hegarty and Jake Gordon.
The hosts again responded through Beauden Barrett, who sliced through the Waratahs to set up Laumape's second try.
The Tahs refused to give in, with Andrew Kellaway's 71st-minute try providing some hope of an unlikely comeback.
They maintained pressure, prompting Beauden Barrett to commit another offside foul that earned him a second yellow card - which became an automatic red card - but ran out of time as the Hurricanes' defence rallied.
Man of the match: Wes Goosen showed that a good little one can still beat a big one, as he showed up prop imitator Taqele Naiyaravoro. Teams always dreaded facing Beauden Barrett. Now they also have to deal with Jordie Barrett - twice as much trouble. Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett was in the picture for a long time, but handed the award to his brother and fullback Jordie Barrett because of his two yellow cards, which became a red card in the 78th minute.
For the Hurricanes:
Tries: Laumape 2, B Barrett, J Barrett, Goosen, Abbott
Cons: J Barrett 4
For the Waratahs:
Tries: Hanigan, Hegarty, Gordon, Kellaway
Cons: Foley 4
Yellow cards: Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes, 17 and 78 - cynical fouls, deliberately slapping down the ball)
Reds card: Beauden Barrett (Waratahs, 78 - two yellow cards)
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Vaea Fifita; 20 Toa Halafihi, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Vince Aso
Waratahs: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Israel Folau, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Cam Clark, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Paddy Ryan.
Replacement: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Sam Needs, 18 David Lolohea, 19 David McDuling, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Irae Simone, 23 Andrew Kellaway
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Glen Newman (New Zealand)