April 22 2005
Highlanders have important win.
The Hurricanes, with six wins from seven matches, and the Highlanders, five wins,a draw and a loss, were very much in semi-final contention when they met at Westpac Stadium. A strong forward effort and and a top class display from five eight Nick Evans saw the southern team win 26 – 16 in front of a big crowd.
“Friday April 22 at Westpac Stadium,Wellington, 7.35pm
Ref: Mark Lawrence (RSA) Crowd: (32,000) HIT: 14-6 Highlanders
by Michael Romanos at Westpac Stadium
Yet another sterling effort by a committed pack and a sublime performance from first five Nick Evans were the highlights of the Highlanders’ 26 – 16 win over the Hurricanes. It extended their unbeaten sequence to seven matches in the Super 12.
Before two minutes had been clocked, Highlanders winger Glen Horton had dived across the Hurricanes try-line. Josh Blackie was the next to crash over after a similar sweeping move. All this was before a scrum had been set. Evans kept the lead intact with accurate goalkicking while the Highlanders kept forcing Hurricane errors. The Highlanders forwards dominated the set pieces and their backs kicked judiciously to maintain pressure.
The Hurricanes closed the margin to 16-17 midway through the second half when Ma’a Nonu ran fifty yards, stepping and fending to slide in at the left hand corner. But the home side continued to take poor options and wreck opportunities with dropped or sloppy passes. Evans was a revelation. His quick reflexes allowed for snappy running and he kicked well. His 40-metre drop kick in the 77th minute sealed victory for his side. In praising Evans, Greg Cooper added that his best was still to come.
BEST AND FAIREST: Nick Evans (Highlanders) 3, Carl Hayman (Highlanders) 2, Ma’a Nonu (Hurricanes) 1
• Anton Oliver was playing in his 250th first class matth.
• The Highlanders became the first visiting team to win this game.
• At the start of the season Nick Evans had not kicked a dropped goal in first class rugby. He now has two in consecutive games.
• Evans has now scored over 200 points in first class rugby.
• Jerry Collins has not missed a minute playing time for the Hurricanes
From “Rugby News”, Issue 9 2005 p. 26.