Super Rugby

Late Hurricanes whirlwind blows Sunwolves away




The Hurricanes beat the Sunwolves 43-15 after a slow start at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.

The Hurricanes extended their unbeaten run to seven with their 15th win on the bounce against non-New Zealand opposition.

The Kiwis outscored their opponents seven tries to two, but they did not have the game all their own way.

Chris Boyd’s side was flattered by the final score, running in three tries – two from Vince Aso and one from skipper Brad Shields – in the last six minutes, for the bonus-point victory.

The Sunwolves enjoyed the better of the territory and possession in the first-half but not the scoreboard.

Pieter Labuschagne’s try and Hayden Parker’s 18th-minute penalty gave the Japanese side a 10-7 lead after Julian Savea crossed to level the scores.

Finlay Christie and Reed Prinsep’s five-pointers gave the Hurricanes an 11-point halftime advantage.

Jamie Joseph’s side is much improved this season and although they’ve never won away from home in Super Rugby, they frustrated the Kiwis for large spells of the match.

The visitors had the better of the opening quarter.

The game started with an early scare for the Sunwolves.

Aso beat William Tupou in the third minute, but TMO Ben Skeen conferred with referee Jamie Nutbrown and informed him that Julian Savea had passed forward in the build-up.

It was the tourists who struck the first blow, scoring when their captain and principle ball-carrier Labuschagne, fended off Ardie Savea for the game’s first try.

Some patient build-up by the Japanese, who took the ball through 14 phases, set-up an early lead.

The Hurricanes hit back when Matt Proctor’s chicken-wing pass put the ‘Bus’ away.

Parker’s penalty put the Sunwolves back in front.

The visitors were playing with intent, carrying with conviction and testing the Hurricanes defence around the ruck and in the wide channels.

The ‘Canes’ lineout was creaky, losing four of their 11 during the 80 minutes.

Ricky Riccitelli was missing jumpers, but the home team’s scrum was the more dominant, winning two of the opposition’s scrums.

Hurricanes take control.

Christie crossed before the half-hour.

Beauden Barrett’s dancing feet flummoxed Fumiaka Tanaka before he offloaded to the Scottish-born halfback for the try.

The Sunwolves twice went close only to be stopped by some strong defence.

The Hurricanes made a staggering 137 tackles to 81 during the contest, none better than when they were under the pump, on their goal-line.

Typical New Zealand double blow.

The Hurricanes managed to get into an attacking position after being trapped inside their 22.

Takuma Asahara was pinged for collapsing, and with the home team’s scrum causing the visitors problems, Shields called for another scrum in the dying moments of the half.

Prinsep broke blind, ran over Kenki Fukuoka and stretched over for the ‘Canes third five-pointer of the evening.

The Sunwolves had the better of the territory (54%) and possession (55%) in the first 40 minutes, but another concentration lapse after the interval put them further behind.

Jordie Barrett’s 50-metre run pushed the score 26-10, in the 42nd-minute.

The fullback burst through a hole in the midfield and raced away untouched in the corner.

There were no more points for what seemed like an age.

The Sunwolves went close again but were held-up by some more strong Hurricanes defending.

Julian Savea burst through the Japanese defence with a 30-metre rampage before sending Aso away, under the posts.

However, the TMO over-ruled the referee, cancelling the five-pointer for a dangerous cleanout during the build-up.

Sunwolves kept knocking on the door but they also poked the bear.

Hosea Saumaki drove for the line but was held-up by Jeff Toomaga-Allen.

It took some inspiration and skill from Yutaka Nagare to finally cross the whitewash.

The halfback’s superb grubber-kick was gathered by Fukuoka, who beat Jackson Garden-Bachop to the bouncing ball to reduce the deficit to 26-15, in the 69th-minute.

Aso, who had been denied twice already, would not be denied again.

Some quick recycling of the ball was too much for the tiring Sunwolves defenders.

The Hurricanes sent the ball wide and the centre had his try.

The three-try blitz was well underway minutes’ later when Shields crossed for his team’s sixth score of the evening.

The flanker linked with Ardie and Julian Savea, the winger’s cheeky back-door pass sending him away.

Aso had another brace soon afterwards – as he did in last season’s 83-17 thrashing of the Sunwolves – celebrating an acrobatic corner-flag dive with a spike, as the Wellington side ran riot.

Hurricanes versus Sunwolves video highlights.

Final score: Hurricanes 43 (21) Sunwolves 15 (10)


Tries – J. Savea, Christie, Prinsep, J. Barrett, Aso (2), Shields
Pen –
Con – B. Barrett (3), J. Barrett
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Labuschagne, Fukuoka
Pen – Parker
Con – Parker
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: Nick Briant
TMO: Ben Skeen



15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Murray Douglas, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.

Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 23 Jackson Garden-Bachop.


15 William Tupou, 14 Hosea Saumaki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Michael Little, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaka Tanaka, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Pieter Labuschagne (captain), 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 James Moore, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Craig Millar.

Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Shintaro Ishihara, 18 Nikoloz Khataishvili, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Edward Quirk, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Semisi Masirewa.

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