Super Rugby - round 14
Hammett laments missed opportunities
May 18, 2013
Chiefs captain Liam Messam charges forward against the Hurricanes, Super Rugby, Round 14, Hurricanes v Chiefs, Westpac Trust Stadium, Wellington
Chiefs captain Liam Messam charges forward against the Hurricanes © Getty Images

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett was a frustrated man after his side's 17-12 Super Rugby loss to the Chiefs.

The match, played in difficult greasy conditions, was an arm wrestle which the Chiefs duly won thanks to their committed defence and ability to put the Hurricanes under pressure in the right areas of the field.

Both sides played the territory game but it was the Chiefs that led 12-9 at the break - with all the points coming from penalty kicks by Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett.

Tanerau Latimer's try in the 54th minute proved to be the knock-out blow as Barrett could only manage one more penalty in the second spell, despite the Hurricanes spending much of the time in the Chiefs' half.

But simple errors such as knock-ons, poor kicks and giving away penalties meant the Hurricanes paid the price and their play-off hopes are now all but over.

"We had opportunities," said Hammett. "It was always going to be one of those tight games. We knew that. It was ultimately who would succumb to pressure and we unfortunately made the mistake down in that area that both teams were trying to play in and they capitalised.

"Whether we should have played more or not; they came out as the victors. They defended very well. It was a hard night to get round the corner on them because of catching and handling. It was a good effort. It was the right plan. It would have been nice to play on a drier evening."

Hammett also backed captain Victor Vito's decision to go for the posts when the Hurricanes won a penalty 10 minutes from time and Ben Tameifuna was sin-binned for cynical play.

"I was definitely calling penalty. We had 10 minutes left in the game. They played the clock down pretty well to be fair. There seemed to be an injury at every stop. That was well played by them. We had the opportunity. It was a frustrating night," said Hammett, who also questioned some of the decisions by referee Lourens van der Merwe. "The first three [penalties] were very, very clearly not penalties. They are pretty costly. It's been a tough night from that perspective."

Chiefs' defence to the fore as Hurricanes lose at home (video available in Australia only)

It was also a tough night for prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen, who was one of 10 uncapped players named in the All Blacks wider training squad earlier this week.

The front-rower came on as a replacement for Ben May early in the second half but lasted only 10 minutes before he had to be helped from the field with a knee injury.

"He's pretty sore. But it's a bit early to tell [the extent of the damage]. It's a bit sore to even do some tests on his knee. It'll be 24 hours before they can get a decent look at what it is," Hammett said. "It is [terrible timing] after the excitement of the announcement this week. But he's a young man so he's got time."

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