Jordie Barrett was at the heart of a brutal physical performance in the Hurricanes’ 34-32 win over the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
The result ends the Crusaders’ 36-game unbeaten streak in Christchurch in four years. Incidentally, their last defeat at home came against the very Hurricanes, who beat them 35-10 in July 2016.
The Hurricanes showed more guts than guile in a bruising encounter with the reigning champions. From the outset, they competed fiercely at the breakdown and shot off the line in an attempt to stifle the Crusaders attack.
Canes backs Ngani Laumape, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Wes Goosen and Barrett were prominent in the first half, taking on the Crusaders line and coming out on top thanks to strong runs. Together with his team’s aggressive defence, Barrett’s kicking game – both tactical and off the tee – subjected the Crudaders to defeat.
And yet, the game was in the balance right until the death, and no small amount of composure was needed to secure the result. All in all, the Hurricanes were made to fight tooth and nail for the victory.
Twelve minutes into the contest and score was locked at 3-3. But Richie Mo’unga, who had been solid if not flashy up to that point, made the breakthrough. The diminutive flyhalf profited when a lineout drive didn’t go as planned and the ball was cleared away to Jack Goodhue, who freed him up to touch down. The Hurricanes would hit back with a seven-pointer of their own to draw level again.
How’s the offload from Goodhue 👏🏽👏🏽
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The last 10 minutes of the half was a frenetic affair, as the sides went blow for blow. But ultimately visitors outscored the hosts 11 to seven to take a slender, but deserved, 21-17 advantage into the break.
The second half was a war of attrition. The Crusaders were always going to be stronger. They went up a level, but after withstanding the initial onslaught, the Hurricanes levelled up as well and again came out on top. The Hurricanes continued to punch holes in the Crusaders defence and extended their lead to 11 points heading into the last 10 minutes.
Mo’unga, as he has proven to be so often in the past, sparked the Crusaders back to life when he went close to the tryline to set up Quinten Strange and stepped up for the conversion. With a four-point difference and the game in the balance, Barrett nailed his fifth penalty.
Again the Crusaders came within touching distance when Mo’unga set up Sevu Reece for a crucial score, but the flyhalf proceeded to miss the conversion. Leading by two points, the Hurricanes came under fire in the last minutes of the match. Will Jordan scuttled down the touchline, but when he was brought down, Barrett beat everyone to the ground to make a game-deciding turnover that won the game for his side.
Crusaders – Tries: Richie Mo’unga, George Bridge, Quinten Strange, Sevu Reece. Conversions: Mo’unga (3). Penalties: Mo’unga (2).
Hurricanes – Tries: Wes Goosen (2), Peter Umaga-Jensen. Conversion: Jordie Barrett (2). Penalties: Barrett (5).
Crusaders – 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Fetuli Paea, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Tom Sanders, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor (c), 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Sione Havili, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku.
Hurricanes – 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara (c-c), 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Fraser Amstrong.
Subs: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Vince Aso, 23 Chase Tiatia.
Photo: Super Rugby NZ