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Bonus point Hurricanes hold on to beat Crusaders

Faifili Levave of the Hurricanes is tackled by Andy Ellis of the Crusaders

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Article Published: Friday 28 March 2014|

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The Hurricanes secured their second Super Rugby victory of the season when they beat the Crusaders 26-29 with a bonus point in Christchurch.

The result moves the Hurricanes provisionally up to eighth place while the Crusaders remain in 12th place.

The Hurricanes moved up to second place in the New Zealand Conference and the seven time champion Crusaders are last in the conference.

The match was a Kieran Read's 100th game for the Crusaders but occasion was spoilt for him as he went off in the 24th minute injured and had to sit on the sidelines and watch his team lose.

The Hurricanes squandered leads in both halves before a late try to winger Alapati Leiua clinched the win over the Crusaders.

The underdog Hurricanes shocked the Crusaders with two tries to lead 17-3 after 20 minutes, but saw that lead evaporate when a double to winger Johnny McNicholl lifted the Crusades to an 18-17 lead at halftime.

The Hurricanes reclaimed a 24-18 lead with a try to All Blacks winger Julian Savea four minutes into the second half before the Crusaders clawed their way back into the match for a second time to lead 26-24.

Leiua finally clinched the Hurricanes' second win from six games this season with a brilliant try in the 73rd minute of a thrilling and see-sawing contest.

Seven-time champions the Crusaders came into the match with a 2-2 record, the Hurricanes 1-4 - in 11th and 12th places respectively - and both teams were desperate to secure a win which would put their seasons on a stronger footing.

That desperation showed throughout a match which was played at a hectic pace and was intensely physical, yet was also riddled with handling mistakes, with turnovers, with aimless kicking and defensive lapses.

Flanker Faifili Levave scored in the ninth minute and scrumhalf TJ Perenara in the 20th to give the Hurricanes a 17-3 lead which boosted their confidence and rocked the Crusaders.

When they were finally able to get some possession in the Hurricanes half, the Crusaders created tries for left winger McNicholl in the 25th and 33rd minutes to take a brittle 18-17 lead to halftime.

Savea came up with a trademark kick and chase play to score the opening try of the second half and to give the Hurricanes the small security of a six point lead.

But they again frittered that away and the Crusaders recovered the lead with a try to flyhalf Colin Slade and a penalty to Tom Taylor in the 63rd minute.

Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett had a perfect kicking record until goalkicks became crucial in a two-point ballgame. He stroked penalties wide of the posts in the 68th and 71st minutes.

The Hurricanes also had a second try to Savea disallowed and might have felt luck was running against them until Leiua snatched the game from the fire seven minutes from fulltime.

He had just enough space near the right-hand touch to outflank the Crusaders defensive line and he pushed off four tacklers on a 55 metre dash to the line.

Barrett missed the conversion and Taylor was off target with a late penalty allowing the Hurricanes to secure a much-needed victory.

Final score Crusaders 26 (18) Hurricanes 29 (17) 

Scorers

Crusaders
Tries - J.McNicholl 2, C.Slade
Pen - T.Taylor 3
Con - T,Taylor
Drop -
Cards -

Hurricanes
Tries - F.Levave, TJ Perenara, J.Savea, A.Leiua
Pen - B.Barrett
Con - B.Barrett 3
Drop -
Cards -

Match Officials
Referee:
Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 1: Garratt Williamson
Assistant Ref 2: Kane McBride
TMO: Chris Wratt

Teams

Crusaders

1. Wyatt Crockett,2. Ben Funnell ,3. Owen Franks,4. Luke Romano,5. Samuel Whitelock,6. Luke Whitelock,7. Matt Todd,8. Kieran Read (c),9. Andy Ellis ,10. Colin Slade ,11. Johnny McNicholl ,12. Tom Taylor ,13. Ryan Crotty (vc),14. Nafi Tuitavake ,15. Israel Dagg

Replacements :16. Codie Taylor ,17. Daniel Lienert-Brown,18. Nepo Laulala,19. Dominic Bird,20. Jordan Taufua,21. Mitchell Drummond ,22. Kieron Fonotia ,23. Nemani Nadolo

Hurricanes

1. Ben Franks,2. Dane Coles,3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen,4. Jeremy Thrush,5. James Broadhurst,6. Faifili Levave,7. Jack Lam,8. Blade Thomson,9. TJ Perenara,10. Beauden Barrett,11. Julian Savea,12. Tim Bateman,13. Conrad Smith (c),14. Alapati Leiua,15. Andre Taylor

Replacements :16. Ash Dixon,17. Chris Eves,18. John Schwalger,19. Mark Reddish,20. Ardie Savea,21. Billy Guyton,22. Matt Proctor,23. Marty Banks

 
 
 
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