Hurricanes pip Crusaders in see-saw clash
March 28, 2014
The Hurricanes started the game strong with a try in the opening minutes
© Getty Images
The Hurricanes timed their run perfectly to take out a see-saw Super Rugby match 29-26 over the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday night. With just seven minutes remaining, and trailing 26-24, the Hurricanes looked to have run out of ideas and steam. But winger Alapati Leuia secured the bonus-point win with a sizzling 60-metre solo try down the right flank, leaving five Crusaders defenders sprawling in his wake.
The visitors then held firm to secure their second win from six starts. The Hurricanes had started in familiar fashion, coughing up possession with early errors. But there were promising signs as well when they moved the ball quickly and got support in numbers to the breakdown.
They continued to pressure the Crusaders' defensive line, and were rewarded after 10 minutes when Julian Savea showed outstanding strength in the tackle to offload for flanker Faifili Levave to crash over for the try. Ahead 10-0 after 10 minutes, the Hurricanes extended their lead as the Crusaders continued to uncharacteristically fall off tackles.
Opting to kick for the line instead of taking the three points paid dividends, a strong drive to the line finished off nicely when TJ Perenara burrowed over in the 18th minute to give the Hurricanes a commanding 17-3 lead. Stung into action, the Crusaders roared back with two tries to winger Johnny McNicholl.
The Hurricanes shocked the Crusaders with a last gasp try to win the match (Australia Only)
The first came on 22 minutes when Andy Ellis's quick tap in midfield found Ryan Crotty and his kick to the corner was perfectly weighted for McNicholl to swoop on. The second came 10 minutes later, as the Crusaders capitalised on turnover ball to switch the attack wide and Tom Taylor's penalty goal soon after gave them an 18-17 lead at halftime.
The Hurricanes started the second spell at pace, Savea crossing two minutes after the restart. TJ Perenara's flat pass out wide gave him time and space, Savea chipped ahead and comfortably won the race to the line to reclaim the lead. A forward pass five minutes ruled later out a second Savea try, then the Crusaders reduced the lead to just one when Colin Slade crossed after 55 minutes.
The Crusaders reclaimed the lead with another Taylor penalty, only for Leiua's late try to wrest the win away and consign the hosts to the bottom of the New Zealand conference with two wins from five matches.