The Hurricanes beat the Reds 38-34 in Wellington on Friday to rack up New Zealand rugby’s 40th-straight win against Aussie opposition. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Hurricanes stormed to a 10th consecutive Super Rugby victory on Friday. More should be made, however, about the fact that New Zealand rugby’s winning streak against Australian teams has now stretched into the 40s.
The Reds were competitive across the 80 minutes, meeting the Hurricanes head on at the collisions and exploiting the gaps in what is usually a good defence. In the end, though, the Kiwi side showed superior physicality and mettle in the dying stages to claim a convincing win.
Ben Lam continued his impressive try-scoring run, crossing the line on two occasions. The Hurricanes winger caused opposite number Filipo Daugunu all sorts of problems. He would have completed a hat-trick had he not dropped the ball over the line at one point in the first half.
The Hurricanes didn’t have everything their own way. Samu Kerevi breached the line to set up Daugunu for a good try toward the end of the half.
The hosts had the final say, though, scoring through Blade Thomson. Beauden Barrett kicked the conversion to reclaim the lead for his side, and then nailed a penalty to give the Hurricanes a 24-20 advantage at the break.
Sam Lousi had another big game for the Hurricanes. The athletic lock showed his power and pace to hit a gap in the third quarter and score an important try.
The Reds refused to give up. Kerevi scored late in the game, and Jono Lance’s conversion brought the visitors within four points of the hosts.
The Hurricanes maintained their composure in the dying stages, though, to force a turnover and then ensure that they finished the contest with a win.
Hurricanes – Tries: Beauden Barrett, Ben Lam (2), Blade Thomson, Sam Lousi. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (5). Penalty: Beauden Barrett.
Reds – Tries: Taniela Tupou, Filipo Daugunu, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi. Conversions: Jono Lance (4). Penalties: Lance (2).
Hurricanes – 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Brad Shields, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Julian Savea.
Reds – 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga- Amosa, 1 JP Smith.
Subs: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Izaia Perese, 23 Aidan Toua.
Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images