Hurricanes magic too much for Tahs
Hurricanes magic too much for TahsSHARE
The Hurricanes recorded a bonus-point (41-29) win over the Waratahs in Wellington on Saturday to keep their Super Rugby play-off hopes alive.
Wellington was wet. New Zealanders, who are given to understatement spoke of showers but it really was rain, heavy at times.
But despite that two teams played the running, handling game, especially in the drier second half and produced an action-packed, entertaining game of rugby on Saturday.
It's just a pity that the seating in the stadium was predominantly yellow – the colour of empty seats.
Before play started there was a minute's silence to honour Hannah Eaton, wife of Chris who was once a Hurricane. Hannah, a midwife, was killed in a motor accident. The Hurricanes wore black armbands.
The teams had roughly equal possession but the Waratahs lost the turnover count substantially while the Hurricanes suffered from brittle handling, especially Tim Bateman. But neither side kicked much, aware that their opponents would use every opportunity to counterattack.
The Waratahs were first to attack with both wings ,Peter Betham and Drew Mitchell, prominent and when Ben May was penalised at a tackle, Brendan McKibbin goaled. 3-0 after 2 minutes.
When Sekope Kepu was penalised for a tackle infringement, Beauden Barrett made it 3-3 after 9 minutes.
TJ Perenara kicked high and Mitchell knocked on a long way, straight into the hands of younger brother Ardie Savea. The flank gave to prop Reg Goodes, a late replacement for Ben Franks. Goodes threw a wonderful, long pass to Conrad Smith who gave to older brother Julian Savea and the big man raced 42 metres to score in the left corner. Barrett converted. 10-3 after 13 minutes.
McKibbin and Barrett, both of whom kicked exceptionally well, exchanged penalties as each of the two No.7s was penalised. 13-6 after 19 minutes.
Then came a great individual try. Perenara kicked and Mitchell partly charged it. McKibbin gave to Brendan Foley and the sturdy flyhalf took off on a swerving run as the defence cracked apart, bamboozling Hurricane after Hurricane, untouched for 41 metres till he scored at the posts. 13-all after 21 minutes. It was a brilliant moment.
Two offside penalties made the score 16-all after 35 minutes and then Conrad Smith strode on a long break. Julian Savea actually went over but the pass from Bateman was clearly forward. Then Kepu was penalised at a maul and Barrett gave his side a 19-16 lead at the break.
The second half belonged to the Hurricanes, certainly the first quarter of an hour of it.
It started when the Hurricanes went left and Smith slipped Goodes a short pass and the prop pumped his legs the 20 metres to the corner. 24-16 after 43 minutes.
McKibbin reduced the lead with a penalty at a scrum but the Hurricanes attacked again. Going left, Barrett kicked a grubber across into the Waratahs' in-goal. It seemed the ball would go into touch-in-goal but at the last bounce it stood up and hooker Motu Matu’u dived on it for a gleeful try. Barrett converted from touch. 31-19 after 51 minutes.
Foley tried an unde arm offload to Pat McCutcheon. The pass was forward and McCutcheon knocked it on. Perenara kicked the ball downfield where it bounced as Julian Savea charged at the ball. His left hand knocked it to his right hand which put it back into his left hand as the huge man raced to the posts for an exciting try. 38-19 after 55 minutes.
The result was done.
But in the rest of the match the Waratahs went through phase after phase, keeping the ball even if they did not always advance. But, on advantage, Adam Ashley-Cooper dummied and accelerated forcing his way over for the try. 38-24 after 62 minutes.
Barrett kicked a touch deep in Waratah territory which met with home approval but from the line-out Matt Lucas, on for McKibbin, broke on a long run and the Waratahs got phases going again till they – again – turned the ball over and Julian Savea burst out of defence. Barrett grubbered into in-goal but Mitchell just saved ahead of Smith. But they went back to a penalty and Barrett goaled. 41-24 with 9 minutes to play.
Those nine minutes belonged to the Waratahs as admirably they strove to score. Their phases played off when tall Israel Folau broke inside Julian Savea and beyond Smith to stretch out and score. 41-29 with 73 minutes to play.
Another score would produce two bonus points, one for a try and one for being within seven points, and they were within a centimetre or two of achieving that as Michael Hooper, after the final siren, raced for the right corner, just out right in the corner as Reynold Lee-Lo grabbed him.
Man of the Match: The outstanding players were Adam Ashley Cooper and Bernard Foley of the Waratahs and Conrad Smith, Beauden Barrett and the Savea brothers of the Hurricanes. Of the brothers the older had the glamour moments while the younger did the dirty work, rugby's Mary and Martha. Our choice of Man of the Match is Ardie Savea.
For the Hurricanes:
Tries: J Savea 2, Goodes, Matu'u
Cons: Barrett 3
Pens: Barrett 5
For the Waratahs:
Tries: Foley, Ashley-Cooper, Folau
Pens: McKibbin 4
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Ben May, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Jack Lam, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Reynold Lee-Lo.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Pat McCutcheon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Mitchell Chapman, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Ben Volavola, 22 Tom Kingston.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Kade McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)