April 13 2007

Slick first half attack and sound defence get Hurricanes home.

The Hurricanes picked up a needed bonus point in Wellington, but only after a strong 2nd spell defensive effort that restricted the Cheetahs to just one try in the half. It was their fifth win in a campaign that threatened to derail after four consecutive losses, three of them on the road.

Chris Masoe - MVP.

“By Jim Kayes at Westpac Stadium

Flashes of brilliance and a staunch defensive effort were enough to keep the Hurricanes in the race for the Super 14 playoffs for another week. After a promising first half that included slick tries to flankers Chris Masoe and Jerry Collins, and a lucky intercept try to lock Jason Eaton, the Hurricanes looked on track for their best win of the year.

But the Cheetahs must have had more juice in their halftime oranges as they dominated the second spell, starving the Hurricanes of the ball and keeping them trapped in their own 22m.

Yet for all of that they could score only once, to skipper Juan Smith who wore No 7 but played No 8, from a maul after Hurricanes captain Rodney So’oialo had been sinbinned for deliberately collapsing an earlier drive. The Cheetahs other try was to wing Gavin Passens from a superb backline move just before halftime.

The Hurricanes desperately needed maximum points from this match and got there by the skin of their teeth with wing Hosea Gear crossing in the final minute.

Coach Colin Cooper blasted referee Paul Marks’ policing of the Cheetahs killing the ball after the game and it was a poor display from the Australian, but the Hurricanes were far from perfect too.

Best and Fairest: Chris Masoe (Hurricanes) 3, Pin Weepu (Hurricanes) 2, Jerry Collins (Hurricanes) 1”

From “Rugby News”, Issue 11 2007 p. 26.

The teams.