The Hurricanes have defeated the Bulls 50-22 in their week nine Rebel Sport Super 14 encounter in Pretoria on Sunday morning (NZT).
In an electrifying performance of exhilarating running rugby, the Hurricanes were comprehensive seven tries to three winners over the defending Super 14 champions the Bulls, to move to 26 competition points and back into top four contention with five round-robin fixtures remaining.
The Hurricanes did the damage early, running in their first four tries in just 21 minutes of play and opening up a 28-3 lead with almost three quarters of the game remaining.
They were fast out of the blocks, scoring converted tries to Ma'a Nonu (5th minute), Chris Masoe (10th), Conrad Smith (16th) and Nonu again (21st) to leave the Bulls reeling and turning the intimidating Loftus Versfeld Stadium into an amphitheatre of destruction.
Nonu's opener was terrific, the powerful midfielder punching his way through the Bulls' midfield defence off the shoulder of first five-eighth Jimmy Gopperth from an attacking Hurricanes scrum.
Superb support play and an interchange in passing saw openside Masoe finish off a well-constructed team try in the corner, centre Smith pinned his ears back and raced 30 metres to the tryline after the Hurricanes forwards had won a lineout turnover, and the rampant Nonu collected his double with a flying intercept on halfway and 50 metre run to score under the posts.
From there it was effectively game over, the Hurricanes able to ride on their wave of early scoring as the Bulls attempted to mount a comeback late in the first half. But the Hurricanes were able to turn their stunning attack into strong defence to hold them out - even with two Hurricanes players in the sin bin at one time in centre Smith and blindside Jerry Collins.
The Bulls capitalised on the Hurricanes' 13-man defence just once, No.8 Pierre Spies crashing over from a scrum and first five-eighth Derick Hougaard converted to make it 28-10 at halftime.
More excellent defence by the Hurricanes early in the second half helped thwart another likely Bulls foray at their line, twice defending a defensive lineout and hooker Andrew Hore holding up a probable Bulls try on the chalk. The Hurricanes then won a turnover from the resulting scrum and escaped with their line intact.
Gopperth extended the lead in the 50th minute to 31-10 with a sweetly struck long-range penalty, after just missing a similar penalty attempt moments earlier.
This was then followed by another excellent period of Hurricanes defence, the visiting team asked to absorb a series of raids inside their own half by their now desperate Bulls opposition.
But instead the Hurricanes once more broke out of their territory with more confident support play and continuity and scored the clincher in the 63rd minute. It was jubilant reserve hooker Hika Elliot who came up with the five pointer after being driven over the line from an attacking lineout for the Hurricanes' fifth of the afternoon. Gopperth maintained his one hundred percent conversion ratio to extend the lead to 38-10.
This try was scored moments after Smith was prevented scoring what appeared to a likely try when he was held back by Bulls second five-eighth Wynand Olivier and prevented from from regathering his own chip and chase with the tryline open.
Olivier was sinbinned for his actions and in is absence the Hurricanes went on to score two more tries.
The floodgates opened again two minutes later when fullback Cory Jane fielded a high kick on halfway and quickly counterattacked with left wing Paku, who scorched up the sideline to score their sixth try and make it 43-10.
Try number seven was scored by Jane, who flashed over from close range off the shoulder of Piri Weepu off an attacking scrum in front of the Bulls' posts. It was fitting that Weepu kicked the conversion to this try to bring up 50 points for the Hurricanes in his 50th match for the side.
The damage done, the Bulls were able to salvage something for their fans in scoring two consolation tries over the final ten minutes, openside Wikus van Heerden and prop Jaco Engels both benefiting from a late rally by the home side to narrow the final margin to 28 points.
This match was the first of three in South Africa on this trip. Next week they play the Stormers in Cape Town in what will be the Hurricanes' 150th Super rugby fixture, ahead of a clash with the Cheetahs in Kimberley the following Saturday.
Some key match statistics:
Piri Weepu became the 19th player to appear in 50 Super rugby matches for the Hurricanes.
It was the 17th time the Bulls have conceded 50 points in a match and the second time against the Hurricanes. They previously won 64-32 at New Plymouth in 1997.
It was the sixth time at Pretoria that the Bulls have conceded 50 points.
The Hurricanes win upset their previous sequence of LWLWLW in matches at Pretoria.
It was the Hurricanes' 13th win in 26 matches in South Africa. This gives them a 50% success rate.
It was only the Hurricanes' fourth time they have scored 50 points in a Super match and first since beating the Highlanders 60-34 at Athletic Park in 1997. In fact all three previous occasions were back in 1997.
The Hurricanes have not scored seven tries in a match since beating the Brumbies 49-37 at Wellington in 2005.
The Hurricanes have won eight Super matches against the Bulls including the last three in a row. The Bulls have beaten the Hurricanes five times.
The Hurricanes team that played the Bulls in Pretoria on Sunday morning was:
15 Cory Jane, 14 Hosea Gear, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Shannon Paku, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So'oialo (captain), 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger. 16 Hikawera Elliot, 17 Neemia Tialata, 18 Jacob Ellison, 19 Craig Clarke, 20 Scott Waldrom, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 Tamati Ellison.
The Hurricanes were defeated 20-13 by the table-topping Crusaders at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday night in their Rebel Sport Super 14 round seven encounter.
Two converted first half tries and stoic defence by the Crusaders combined to give the visiting team their seventh straight win of the 2008 Super 14.
A try in the opening exchanges to hooker Corey Flynn and another half an hour later to lock Ali Williams courtesy of a cruel bounce against the Hurricanes gave the Crusaders a 17-3 halftime lead, which despite a concerted comeback by the Hurricanes, enabled them to hold on and win.
Flynn's try came from an early ruck turnover won by All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and a subsequent drive over the line from close-quarters, and was quickly converted by first five-eighth Dan Carter for a 7-0 advantage. The Crusaders then went further ahead in the 18th minute through a Carter penalty.
Following an earlier miss, Hurricanes first five-eighth Jimmy Gopperth landed a penalty after 30 minutes to close the deficit to 10-3 and get the 31,571-strong crowd into full chorus. This was also the Hurricanes' 1000th point in Super Rugby in all matches at Westpac Stadium since the first ever match played there against the Sharks.
Williams became the next to score though, crossing for the Crusaders' second seven-pointer. Directing their avenue of attack up the shortside, No. 8 Mose Tuiali'i put through a kick and chase into the Hurricanes 22 towards his opposite Rodney So'oialo, only for the ball to bounce away from the Hurricanes skipper and sit up fortuitously into the arms of Williams to run through and score.
The Hurricanes began the second half positively, pushing hard up-field from the kick-off with good impetus and were rewarded with a second penalty, this time to halfback Piri Weepu. However Carter returned fire with another penalty to restore the earlier 14-point advantage and establish a 20-6 lead.
But the Hurricanes maintained their attacking momentum, pegging the Crusaders back into their own half and several times stretching the committed Crusaders defence for maximum reward. Hooker Andrew Hore thought he had scored in the 54th minute, but referee Steve Walsh ruled an obstruction in the Crusaders' favour.
More second half chances were created, including a near-intercept try to replacement second five-eighth Tane Tu'ipulotu, before Hore was rewarded with a try following the sin binning of Tuiali'i for repeated infringements. Lock Jason Eaton cleanly won a Hurricanes lineout near the line and Hore expertly peeled around and crashed over for this 14th Super rugby try.
Gopperth slotted the conversion to narrow the deficit to 20-13 and then saw a 70th minute chance hit the uprights, which the Crusaders recovered from and averted any further danger.
The Hurricanes tried valiantly to crack the visitors' defence for a long-range try in the dying minutes, but were unable to break through.
Despite the loss, the Hurricanes secured a bonus point in this match, only the second team this year to do so against the Crusaders in seven matches, while during the course of this fixture the Crusaders became the first ever Super Rugby team to score 5000 competition points.
The Hurricanes return to Westpac Stadium to host the Sharks in next Saturday's round eight Super 14 match, while the unbeaten Crusaders have their bye next week..
Scores: At Westpac Stadium: Crusaders 20 (Corey Flynn, Ali Williams tries; Dan Carter 2 pen, 2 con), Hurricanes 13 (Andrew Hore try; Jimmy Gopperth pen, con; Piri Weepu pen). Halftime 17-3.
The Hurricanes side that met the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium on Friday night was:
15 Cory Jane, 14 Ma'a Nonu, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Shannon Paku, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Piri Weepu; 8 Rodney So'oialo (c), 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Neemia Tialata 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger. Reserves: 16 Hikawera Elliot, 17 Tim Fairbrother, 18 Jeremy Thrush, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Tane Tu'ipulotu, 22 Hosea Gear.
The scoring action (by minute):
2nd: Corey Flynn try. Crusaders 5-0
3rd: Dan Carter conversion. Crusaders 7-0
18th: Carter penalty. Crusaders 10-0
30th: Jimmy Gopperth penalty, Crusaders 10-3
33rd: Ali Williams try. Crusaders 15-3
34th: Carter conversion. Crusaders 17-3
41st: Piri Weepu penalty. Crusaders 17-6
48th: Carter penalty. Crusaders 20-6
68th: Andrew Hore try. Crusaders 20-11
69th: Gopperth conversion. Crusaders 20-13
52nd: Tane No8 Mose Tuiali'i (22) for Tamati Ellison (12)
Shannon Paku plays his 50th game for the Hurricanes when they return from their bye to host the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium this Friday night in round seven of the Rebel Sport Super 14 at 7.35pm. The versatile Paku, who made his Hurricanes debut in 2002 and also spent a season with the Blues in 2003, starts on the left wing in place of Hosea Gear who moves to the bench. Ma'a Nonu comes back into the side on the right wing after missing the Hurricanes' 33-15 win over the Brumbies while serving a one-week suspension. In one other change to the starting line-up that won in Canberra, John Schwalger returns to loosehead prop after sitting that game out with a lower back strain. Schwalger replaces Jacob Ellison in that position, while Tim Fairbrother remains on the bench in the playing 22. This match will be the Hurricanes' 100th Super Rugby match against all sides in New Zealand, having so far played 99 domestic matches for 54 wins, 43 losses and two draws. Another milestone the Hurricanes should accomplish on Friday will be reaching 1000 Super Rugby points in all matches at Westpac Stadium. They have so far amassed 998 points, including 117 tries, 82 conversions, 82 penalties and one dropped goal. For the Hurricanes, this match is the first of two at home at Westpac Stadium before a three-match trip to South Africa that includes games against the Bulls, Stormers and Cheetahs. The Crusaders arrive at Westpac Stadium to play their first New Zealand opposition of the year, and are unbeaten after six rounds having beaten the Waratahs 34-7 last week. They have their bye after this game. The Hurricanes have played the Crusaders the most out of any other team in Super Rugby, meeting them 15 times so far. This includes two semi-finals and one final. The Crusaders prevailed on each of those three occasions, winning 39-16 in 2003, 47-7 in 2005 and 19-12 in 2006. Overall, the Crusaders have had the better of the clashes in winning eleven with one draw. The 18-18 result in 1999 was one of only two draws for the Hurricanes in the 146 games played so far, the other being a 26-26 tie against the Blues in 2004. The Crusaders have had the better of all their recent clashes in winning the last five consecutive fixtures since 2005, although four have been in Christchurch and two have been play-off matches. Hurricanes fans will feel their team is due for a win over their South Island visitors on Friday night, with 2004's 37-20 win the last, while other victories were back-to-back in 2000 and 2001, with the Hurricanes winning 28-22 and 41-29 respectively. The 41 points scored in 2001 is the most by the Hurricanes against the Crusaders, while the widest winning margin was 17 points in 2004. Despite the frequency of meetings, this will be the Crusaders' fifth visit in 16 games between the side to be played on Westpac Stadium, with previous meetings staged at New Plymouth and Napier (once each) and Christchurch nine times. Last year's result saw the Crusaders win 23-13, after an early Ma'a Nonu converted try silenced a parochial AMI Stadium crowd. Nonu was playing in the midfield on that occasion, but 18 of the Hurricanes 31 tries have been run from either the wing or fullback position, including seven scored by Christian Cullen, three by Brent Ward, three by Jonah Lomu, two by Lome Fa'atau and one each to Alex Telea and Hosea Gear. Cullen (three times), Lomu, Ward and hooker Andrew Hore have each scored two tries in games against the Crusaders. Despite these exploits, stoic defence has traditionally won the day in matches between these two teams, and Friday night promises to be no different. Lookout for big games from lock Craig Clarke against his former team-mates in 2005 and 2006, from first five-eighth Jimmy Gopperth against Dan Carter, from openside Chris Masoe against Richie McCaw and Schwalger against Greg Somerville in the front row. The Hurricanes team to play the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium on Friday night is: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Ma'a Nonu, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Shannon Paku, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So'oialo (c), 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Neemia Tialata 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger. Reserves: 16 Hikawera Elliot, 17 Tim Fairbrother, 18 Jeremy Thrush, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Tane Tu'ipulotu, 22 Hosea Gear
Saturday, 15 March 2008 The Hurricanes were convincing 33-15 winners over the Brumbies in their round five Rebel Sport Super 14 match at Canberra Stadium on Friday night. The Hurricanes outscored the Brumbies five tries to two amid a sparkling attacking performance and another tremendous all-round defensive effort to register their fourth consecutive Super 14 win in 2008, their first in Canberra since 2002's 20-13 win and to equal the highest winning margin (18 points) by any team against the Brumbies at their home ground.
Their second bonus point win of the season sees the Hurricanes firmly entrench themselves near the top of the points table ahead of their bye next weekend, before they host the Crusaders in Wellington on March 28.
The Hurricanes scored tries through left wing Shannon Paku, hooker Andrew Hore and Hosea Gear and openside flanker Chris Masoe, who scored two tries for his first brace of tries for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby. First five-eighth Jimmy Gopperth landed three conversions and his replacement Willie Ripia slotted a fourth.
After a tight and often stop-start first half that saw the Hurricanes head to the dressing rooms leading 7-3, the Hurricanes upped their tempo and attacking continuity after the interval to score four further tries and create a match winning 33-8 advantage late in the contest.
The Hurricanes extended their narrow halftime lead fifteen minutes into the second spell when Hore spun round in the tackle and crashed over the tryline for his 13th Super Rugby try, following an extended period of sustained pressure inside the Brumbies territory.
Gopperth converted for a 14-3 lead, while at the same time Brumbies No. 8 Stephen Hoiles found himself sinbinned by referee Willie Roos for backchat.
But the now 14-man Brumbies managed to hit back almost straightaway when replacement flanker Julian Salvi crossed in the corner following a shortside snipe by replacement halfback Josh Holmes. Fullback Mark Gerrard's conversion hit the uprights and the score remained at 14-8 - ahead of the Hurricanes' third try and the key moment of the match.
This next try to the Hurricanes on 62 minutes served to take the game away from the home team, the Hurricanes creating a turnover from near their own tryline with the Brumbies hot on attack and breaking out for a 90-metre counterattacking try, finished off by right wing Gear.
Gear was the benefactor in the sweeping movement up field, involving replacements Tane Tu'ipulotu and Alby Mathewson, as well as Paku and second five-eighth Tamati Ellison. This try extended the lead to 19-8 just when it seemed the Brumbies were mounting a comeback.
From there, the Hurricanes maintained the pressure on the Brumbies, Masoe flashing in for two more tries to seal a well earned win.
His first was set up by the momentum created by his loose forward partner Jerry Collins, who took a quick tap off a free kick inside the Brumbies' 22 and charged ahead. From the ensuing breakdown, Masoe, with a full head of steam, soared over the tryline to score near the corner. Gopperth's conversion made it 26-8.
More attacking rhythm saw Masoe cross for his double five minutes later off the shoulder of Collins' replacement Scott Waldrom, following a try saving tackle at the other end of the park by Hurricanes fullback Cory Jane on Brumbies left wing Francis Fainifo.
The Brumbies did manage to score a second try, to second five-eighth Tyrone Smith in the 75th minute, but by then an excellent Hurricanes win had been achieved.
Earlier, busy loosehead Prop Jacob Ellison, in his Super 14 run-on debut, brilliantly won a turnover near halfway and Gear soared up field, before linking with centre Conrad Smith to send Paku over under the posts for the only try of the first half.
The try was excellent reward for the defence orientated Hurricanes, who staved off several early movements by the Brumbies and also weathered the loss of second five-eighth Tamati Ellison to the sin bin for a high tackle in just the 12th minute.
Scores: At Canberra Stadium, Canberra: Hurricanes 33: Shannon Paku, Andrew Hore, Hosea Gear, Chris Masoe 2 tries; Jimmy Gopperth 3 cons; Willie Ripia con. Brumbies 15: Julian Salvi, Tyrone Smith tries; Mark Gerrard pen, con. HT 7-3.
The Hurricanes team who played the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday night was:
15 Cory Jane, 14 Shannon Paku, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So'oailo, 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins,[/size] 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Jacob Ellison. 16 Hikawera Elliot, 17 Tim Fairbrother, 18 Jeremy Thrush, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Wille Ripia, 22 Tane Tu'ipulotu.
55th: Tim Fairbrother (17) for Neemia Tialata (3) 55th: Tane Tu'ipulotu (22) for Conrad Smith (13) 59th: Jeremy Thrush (18) for Craig Clarke (4) 59th: Alby Mathewson (20) for Piri Weepu (9) 64th: Hika Elliot (16) for Andrew Hore (2) 72nd: Scott Waldrom (19) for Jerry Collins (6) 72nd: Willie Ripia (21) for Jimmy Gopperth (10) 73rd: Tialata for Jacob Ellison (1) – injury substitute.
Wednesday, 12 March 2008 The Hurricanes go back across the Tasman this week to play the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday at 9.40pm NZT, in round five of the 2008 Rebel Sport Super 14. Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper has made four changes to the starting XV that beat the Highlanders 10-6 in Dunedin last Friday. The forward pack sees the return from minor injuries of tighthead prop Neemia Tialata (knee) and openside flanker Chris Masoe (back). Tialata re-joins the side for Tim Fairbrother, who plays off the bench, while Masoe comes in for Scott Waldrom who takes his brother Thomas's place on the pine from the Highlanders match. Elsewhere in the front row, Jacob Ellison takes the place of John Schwalger at loosehead prop for his first start for the Hurricanes following his debut off the bench last week, after Schwalger failed to recover from a lower back strain. In one change to the backs, Cory Jane returns from a hip injury to take up the fullback berth, with Shannon Paku switching to the right wing in place of Ma'a Nonu, who is serving a one-week suspension after being cited for a dangerous tackle against the Highlanders. Two-time Super 12 champions, the Brumbies have had a mixed start to their 2008 season, wining two and losing two to be seventh on the points ladder, just behind the Hurricanes who are in equal fourth alongside the Waratahs. Since the Hurricanes beat them 42-21 in Levin in early February in the final warm-up game for both sides, the Brumbies have lost to the Crusaders 34-3, beaten the Highlanders 22-20, beaten the Reds 43-11 and lost to the Waratahs 24-17. They were defeated by the Tahs last week in Sydney after surrendering a 17-10 halftime lead, the home side eclipsing them with two converted tries. Their two wins against the Highlanders and the Reds have both been at Canberra Stadium, creating a six-game winning home streak stretching back to the middle of last season, with their last loss in Canberra in round five against the eventual champions, the Bulls. Last year's corresponding match between these two sides saw the Hurricanes pip the Brumbies on fulltime in one of the tightest finishes ever to a Super Rugby game at Westpac Stadium. Hurricanes reserve loose forward Thomas Waldrom scored in the corner on fulltime to seal an 11-10 win. This result reversed a 21-16 victory to the Brumbies in 2006 in Canberra. These two most recent head-to-head results between the Hurricanes and the Brumbies run against the pattern of the eleven previous clashes between the franchises, with Hurricanes v Brumbies matches traditionally high scoring affairs. In these eleven encounters, including a semi-final in 1997, a cumulative average of 57 points were scored by both teams and 70 points or more in the match have been scored on three occasions, reflecting the wide-ranging attacking styles of both franchises. Memorable matches for the Hurricanes against the Brumbies were 1998's 32-29 win in Canberra, 2001's 34-19 win in Wellington and 2005's 49-37 win in Wellington in which the Hurricanes' backs scored all seven tries, including a hat trick to Nonu. The Hurricanes' top try scorer against the Brumbies is Christian Cullen with eight tries, including six in his four home games against them, while David Holwell, Jonah Lomu, Brent Ward, Lome Fa'atau and Nonu have all touched down at least twice. In all, the Hurricanes have scored 36 tries against the Brumbies, 32 of which have been scored through the backs. Since the inception of Super Rugby, the Hurricanes have been triumphant on five occasions and the Brumbies eight, including the first three match-ups. The Hurricanes team to play the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium is: