Jordie Barrett slotted a penalty three minutes after the hooter to give the Hurricanes a vital 27-24 victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The win saw the Hurricanes reignite their hopes of a charge for the top of the New Zealand conference. The visitors climbed above the Blues into third place in the conference, level on 18 points with the Crusaders.
It is unlikely to stay that way, with the Blues and Crusaders likely to get big wins in their respective fixtures on Saturday, but this could still be a decisive result in the conference, especially as the Chiefs failed to put a gap between themselves and the chasing pack.
The win also continued the strange pattern of away victories in New Zealand derbies. With this result, four out of the six derbies in 2020 have been won by the away side. It also brought an end to the Chiefs’ three-match winning run in local derbies.
The decisive blow was laid after the fulltime hooter as, with the scores level at 24-24, the Hurricanes appeared to making very little ground as they took the ball through over 30 phases but stayed on the Chiefs’ 10-metre line. The ultimate goal seemed to be to leak a penalty, which was obliged by Pita Gus Sowakula, when the Chiefs eighthman put in a late tackle, giving Barrett a 40m penalty to win the match.
The game itself ebbed and flowed as the Hurricanes took a deserved 14-10 lead into the break, thanks to excellent tries from Ben Lam and Fletcher Smith.
However, there was a decisive period in the first 20 minutes of the second half. It was nearly a dream start to the half for the Hurricanes as Jordie Barrett appeared to have scored after toeing a loose ball ahead and sliding in with it under his arms. However, the TMO adjudged it to have been carried back by Damian McKenzie, who managed to get a hand on the ball at the same time.
After surviving that scare the Chiefs took the lead when outside centre Tumua Manu showed his strength to shrug off a couple of tacklers and run in under the posts. TJ Perenara was then shown yellow for a head-high dangerous tackle on Solomon Alaimalo and the hosts wasted no time in punishing the infringement as Sean Stevenson galloped in out wide.
Vitally, though, the Hurricanes restricted the damage and actually narrowed the gap to seven points as Barrett knocked over his first penalty of the match. Asafo Aumua then scored from a powerful driving maul, before Barrett converted the match-winner.
Chiefs – Tries: Lachlan Boshier, Tumua Manu, Sean Stevenson. Conversions: Damian McKenzie (3). Penalties: McKenzie
Hurricanes –Tries: Ben Lam, Fletcher Smith, Asafo Aumua. Conversions: Jordie Barrett (3). Penalty: Barrett (2)
Chiefs – 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross.
Subs: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Reuben O’Neill 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Lisati Milo-Harris, 22 Kaleb Trask, 23 Alex Nankivell.
Hurricanes – 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Kobus Van Wyk, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 TJ Perenara (c-c), 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Devan Flanders, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles (c-c), 1 Fraser Armstrong. Subs: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Alex Fidow 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Billy Proctor, 23 Wes Goosen.
Photo: Getty Images