Beauden brilliance saves Hurricanes
BEAUDEN BARRETT produced a masterclass performance, albeit with another yellow card, to get the Hurricanes home 2824 against the Blues in Auckland yesterday.
Barrett was instrumental in three of the four Hurricanes tries in the fast but scrappy encounter where missed tackles and turnovers were rife.
The Blues, who have not beaten a New Zealand side at home since they downed the Highlanders in the first round of 2016, hit the front with 15 minutes remaining but they could not stop Barrett engineering a late match-winning try.
The Blues were pressing to extend their lead when Barrett chipped ahead and regathered to spark a move that swept the length of the field. It ended with the flyhalf angling a kick towards the corner where lock Mark Abbott, who scored the first try, was on hand to score the decider.
“It took a pretty special play from Beauden to get them down their end,” Blues captain James Parsons said. “That was the big play that we were looking for to win, and they won it unfortunately.”
Canes captain TJ Perenara said it typified their never-say-die attitude. “We were under the pump for a big part of that second half and for us not to concede too much and to be able to get up and over the line, I’m proud of that.”
The Hurricanes led 21-14 — three tries to two — at halftime before the Blues closed it to 21-17 with a penalty on debut from flyhalf Bryn Gatland — son of Lions coach Warren. They then seized the lead with a try to Scott Scrafton before Abbott’s winning try.
Winger Toni Pulu scored two tries as the Chiefs came back from 24-0 down to earn a bonus-point victory over the Cheetahs.
Tries by winger Raymond Rhule, prop Torsten van Jaarsveld and centre Francois Venter had put the home side in control with a 24-point lead after 22 minutes, but the visitors regained their composure and Pulu’s double added to efforts from Tawera KerrBarlow, James Lowe, Shaun Stevenson and Hika Elliot sealed victory.
The Melbourne Rebels produced a fighting response to a tumultuous week with a tense 19-17 victory over the Brumbies for their first win of the season.
The Rebels, stung by attempts to cut them from next season's competition, fought back to win with a penalty goal by Reece Hodge in the final minutes.
The Australian conference-leading Brumbies, who outscored the home side three tries to one, led for most of the second half before Hodge’s winner.
The Stormers’ winning streak came to an abrupt end as they went down 16-29 to the Lions at Newlands.
The Johannesburg-based side made a blistering start and scored four tries to one to earn a bonus point. Substitute wing Sylvian
Mahuza scored the vital try which fly-half Elton Jantjies converted.
Queensland Reds ended a run of six defeats with a free-scoring 47-34 win over the Southern Kings in Brisbane. The Reds scored seven tries to five with Quade Cooper returning from suspension to kick six conversions.
Former Wallaby flanker George Smith celebrated his 150th Super Rugby appearance with a try while Eto Nabuli, Karmichael Hunt and Izaia Perese all scored twice for the Reds.
Crusaders celebrated Wyatt Crockett’s record 176th Super Rugby appearance with a 50-3 annihilation of the Sunwolves to maintain their winning record.
Manasa Mataele scored a first-half hat-trick while Ben Funnell, Pete Samu, George Bridge, Whetu Douglas and Kiwi captain Kieran Read, making his comeback following a wrist surgery, also crossed as Crockett surpassed the number of games by ex-All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu. The Crusaders dominated up front against a limited Japanese side, who were restricted to a Yu Tamura penalty.
Running the show: Beauden Barrett breaks through
Try double: Toni Pulu