The Hurricanes and the Crusaders have both qualified for the Super Rugby playoffs next weekend so whatever happens, their season will continue for at least one more week.
The Crusaders are unbeaten but they only have a two point lead on the Lions.
A loss this week coupled with a Lions victory would see the Lions finishing on top and potentially forcing the Crusaders to travel.
This is without a doubt, the game of the weekend. The Hurricanes have been one of the most impressive teams in the tournament, led by the Barrett brothers, Beauden and Jordie – this will be a cracker.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are underway in Wellington. there have been some changes to the Hurricanes. Beauden Barrett is out with a virus, Vince Aso limped off during the warm ups. In comes Otere black at first five eight. Jordie Barrett moves to outside centre and Nehe Milner-Skudder goes to fullback. Wes Goosen moves from the bench to right wing and Ben Lam comes in for Goosen on the bench.
3.00: TRY Seta Tamanivalu! The Crusaders expose the Hurricanes’ new centre pairing and score in the corner after a quick tap penalty: 0-5
4.00: Richie Mo’unga adds the extras: 0-7
6.00: TJ Peranara runs over Mo’unga, but the move breaks down. They do get a penalty, and instead of taking the points, the Canes opt for a scrum.
8.00: The Crusaders are penalised at the set piece, so the Hurricanes will scrum again.
10.00: Ben May is penalised at this time – how does the referee decide who to penalise in that situation?
14.00: TRY! Tamanivalu at the double! The Crusaders worked patiently inside the Hurricanes’ 22. They go 14 phases before Kieran Read offloaded to the wing, who juggled the ball before going over for a walk-in try: 12-0
15.00: The conversion hits the post and rebounds out: 0-12
18.00: A kicking battle ensues as both teams look for territory. The Canes look lost without their general and the cohesion in the backline is not working.
20.00: The Crusaders take all the pressure that the Canes throw at them. The home team go 10 phases but get held up in the tackle and lose the ball. good work in defence for the Crusaders. The Hurricanes look lost with the ball in hand.
23.00: Otere Black starts a counter-attack, the ball is shifted to Milner-Skudder, but the fullback loses his footing. The Saders win the ball back but kick it away. The Hurricanes get another penalty, their fifth of the night and Barrett kicks deep inside the Saders’ 22.
25.00: Luke Romano steals the lineout and Mo’unga clears the ball to touch. Big moment in the game.
27.00: Relentless organisation by the Crusaders sees the hurricanes go wide and lose the ball into touch. that is the second time that the home team have been shifted out.
28.00: The Hurricanes win a penalty, but TJ Perenara says something that Glen Jackson does not like, and the captain is penalised, seeing the original penalty reversed.
30.00: Another penalty, this time Matt Todd is pinged, so Barrett will clear the danger.
32.00: TRY Jordie Barrett! Who else? Ngani Laumape is being used as a battering ram, he and Ardie Savea were both involved in the build up to the try. The go-forward by the hurricanes forwards sees Otera Black delay his pass at the gain line and send Barrett away: 5-12
33.00: Barrett slots the conversion: 7-12
34.00: The penalty count is mounting against the Crusaders; it’s now eight to two against the visitors.
35.00: Mo’unga takes a wonderful high ball and starts a counter-attack. Somehow, the Crusaders are held up in the tackle and the home team get the ball for the scrum. The Hurricanes have slowly, got themselves back into this game.
37.00: Black and Barrett lose the ball forwards, attempting a pre-planned move off the back o the first-phase ball from the scrum. The ball goes out and so, the Canes get the throw-in at the lineout.
38.00: Another penalty against the visitors, this time for taking a player out in the air.
40.00: Black kicks in behind the Crusaders’ defenders and the ball rolls out inside the 22. The Hurricanes are penalised at the lineout for offsides. there is time for one last play.
41.00: The Hurricanes turn the ball over and that is it for the first 40 minutes
The half-time score was Hurricanes 7 Crusaders 12
41.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are back underway for the second-half in Wellington.
42.00: Jordie Barrett takes a high ball, but the ball is lost forward into another Hurricanes’ player.
44.00: The Hurricanes are trying to muscle their way down the field. It is slow going. Kieran Read and Michael Alaalatoa both involved with some big defence.
45.00: TRY Julian Savea! The Bus takes a high, cross-kick, but does not gather cleanly. He does, however, he regains the ball and run in to score: 12-12
46.00: Barrett slots the conversion and the home team have the lead: 14-12
47.00: The hurricanes muck about on their 22 and are penalised, giving Mo’unga a chance to take back the lead.
48.00: PENALTY! Mo’unga will not miss from there: 14-15
50.00: The Crusaders are marching up the field. They have taken the ball a dozen phases before Mo’unga almost loses the ball. Two phases later, the away team knock the ball forward.
52.00: Now it’s time for the Canes to be penalised. Good work by Ben Funnell at the breakdown.
53.00: HELD UP! The Crusaders threatening, going forty metres, bashing their way through the yellow ranks, using multiple runners before getting over the line.
55.00: TRY Israel Dagg! The fullback joins the line, steps Barrett and darts over for the score: 14-20
56.00: Mo’unga slots the conversion: 14-22
58.00: Wes Goosen kicks from near the sideline. The chase is good and Vaea Fifita is pushed back over the try line. Scrum to the Hurricanes 15 metres infield, 5-metres out.
59.00: TRY Wes Goosen! Perenara breaks blind, draws George Bridge and sends the winger away for an excellent first-phase try: 19-22
60.00: Barrett makes it a one-point game from the sideline: 21-22
61.00: Mo’unga is penalised for not releasing. Barrett calls for the tee. This about 55-metres out.
62.00: MISS! It is short by some way: 21-22
64.00: Barrett charges down a kick and tackles Dagg into touch.
65.00: TRY Vaea Fifita! Julian Savea breaks through the red tide after some smart lineout play by the Canes. He pops to his brother Ardie, who takes it up to the posts. The Hurricanes go wide to Ngani Laumape from Otere Black. The flanker collects Laumape’s pass and is in for the score in the corner: 26-22
66.00: Barrett makes no mistake from the touchline: 28-22
68.00: David Havili is called for a knock on, however, the ball looks to have come off Barrett’s knee. Lucky break for the home team.
69.00: Havili helps seal off the maul and earn the turnover for the Saders.
71.00: Barrett kicks the ball out on the full, so the Crusaders will have the lineout on the Hurricanes’ 22. It was good work by the Canes in turning over the ball after Read’s bursting run.
74.00: The hits are coming in! Loni Uhila smokes Jordan Taufua and the Canes get the penalty.
76.00: The Hurricanes get the scrum after some helter-skelter play by both teams. The set piece is in centre field, just outside the Crusaders’ 22.
77.00: The Crusaders win the back at the ruck, but are trying to play out from their 22. It leads to a penalty on their 10-metres line. Scott Barrett is penalised for going off his feet. Jordie will call for the tee.
78.00: PENALTY! Jordie Barrett comes up with another big play: 31-22
80.00: The hooter sounds, the Canes get the ball and Perenara kicks it into the stands.
The final score is Hurricanes 31 (7) Crusaders 22 (12)
Tries – J. Barrett, J. Savea, Goosen, Fifita
Pen – J. Barrett
Con – J. Barrett (4)
Tries – Tamanivalu (2), Dagg
Pen – Mo’unga
Con – Mo’unga (2)
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Angus Mabey
TMO: Glenn Newman
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Wes Goosen 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Otere black, 9 Thomas Perenara (captain), 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ben May
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Cory Jane, 23 Ben Lam
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Sean Wainui