Friday, February 27, 2009

Hurricane blows Crusaders away

The Hurricanes pulled off an upset by beating the Crusaders 24-30 in Christchurch ending run of defeats going back five years.

The Crusaders outscored the Hurricanes by four tries to three so they pick up two bonus points and the Hurricanes take four points from the match.

Referee Stuart Dickinson sent both team's captains to the bin after they had both been given verbal warnings. Richie McCaw was the first to go and he was followed much later in the game by Hurricanes captain Rodney So'oialo who finished the game in the bin.

Tries from Zac Guildford,Alby Mathewson and Ma'a Nonu took the Hurricanes out to a 12-30 lead with 20 minutes to go. A converted try by Jared Payne brought the Crusaders to within 11 points with 10 minutes to go.

The Crusaders then piled on the pressure but the Hurricanes defence held strong until Thomas Waldrom caught the Hurricanes napping and ran in the bonus point try for the Crusaders. Slade missed the conversion but the Crusaders were still six points adrift.

Going into the match the Crusaders had an 82 % success rate at home.

The Hurricanes had not beaten the Crusaders in Christchurch since 2001 - even in Wellington the Hurricanes had not been able to beat the Crusaders in the last five years as their last victory over the Canterbury based Super Rugby champions was in 2004.

Piri Weepu scored 15 points as a stand-in flyhalf kicking three penalties and three conversions — six goals from as many attempts - to give the Hurricanes their second win in three matches this season and leave the defending champions with a 1-2 record after three rounds.

Backs Zac Guilford, Albie Mathewson and Ma'a Nonu scored tries for the Hurricanes who set aside the flawed kicking game which has limited their effectiveness early this season and returned to their free-running style.

Weepu guided play skillfully from flyhalf, All Blacks Nonu and Conrad Smith combined superbly in midfield and Tamati Ellison, a late addition at fullback, added more attacking thrust, creating space for wingers Guilford and Hosea Gear.

The Crusaders lacked the Hurricanes' goal-kicking precision as Colin Slade and Stephen Brett combined for only two goals from six attempts.

"This is a great win for us," So'oialo said.

"It's always hard to beat the Crusaders wherever you play them, doubly hard down here.

"We had the tactics to break them if we made the passes stick. We showed tonight what we can do if we do the little things well."

The Hurricanes were in front for most of the match, leading 3-0 and 6-0 after Weepu's first two successful kicks at goal.

The Crusaders grabbed a 7-6 lead with a try to center Casey Laulala, converted by Slade, but their lead lasted only three minutes before the Hurricanes scored their first try through Guilford.

A further penalty to Weepu, with McCaw in the sinbin, gave the Hurricanes a 16-7 lead at halftime.

Crusaders lock Brad Thorn scored the first try of the second half, trimming the lead to four points but an intercept try to halfback Albie Mathewson put the Hurricanes ahead 23-12 and proved crucial.

Nonu scored in the 60th minute to give the Hurricanes their peak lead at 30-12.
The Crusaders fought back with late tries to Jarrod Payne and Thomas Waldrom but were then held out by staunch Hurricanes defense.

"We let it get away from us in the first half," McCaw said.

"They got momentum and it took us a while to get into the game. Maybe it was too late."

Final Score Crusaders 24 Hurricanes 30

Tries - Casey Laulala, Brad Thorn, Jared Payne,Thomas Waldrom
Penalties -
Conversions - Colin Slade 2
Drop Goals -
Cards - Yellow - Richie McCaw (29.00)

Tries - Zac Guildford, Alby Mathewson, Ma'a Nonu
Penalties -Piri Weepu 3
Conversions -Piri Weepu 3
Drop Goals -
Cards - Yellow Rodney So'oialo (77)

Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Stuart Dickinson

Crusaders: 1 Wyatt Crockett, 2 Jason Macdonald, 3 Ben Franks, 4 Brad Thorn, 5 Ross Filipo, 6 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 8 Thomas Waldrom, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 10 Colin Slade, 11 Kade Poki, 12 Tim Bateman, 13 Casey Laulala, 14 Jared Payne, 15 Stephen Brett

Reserves: 16 Daniel Perrin, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Isaac Ross, 19 George Whitelock , 20 Tyson Keats , 21 Ryan Crotty , 22 Adam Whitelock


1. John Schwalger, 2. Ged Robinson, 3. Tim Fairbrother, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Jason Eaton, 6. Karl Lowe, 7. Scott Waldrom, 8. Rodney So'oialo, 9. Alby Mathewson, 10. Piri Weepu, 11. Hosea Gear, 12. Ma'a Nonu, 13. Conrad Smith, 14. Zac Guildford, 15. Tamati Ellison,

Reserves: 16. Jacob Ellison, 17. Neemia Tialata, 18. Bryn Evans, 19. Faifili Levave, 20. Daniel Kirkpatrick, 21. Jason Kawau , 22. David Smith.

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