Hurricanes

Hurricanes secure Super 14 Semi-Final place

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The Hurricanes kept on track for the play-offs and ended the Force’s hopes of reaching the play-offs after they beat the Force by 21 points to 10.


The Hurricanes took second place on the points table with 40 points and have secured a Semi-Final place as the Chiefs still have to play the Sharks and the Waratahs still have to play the Stormers.


A Bonus point for the Hurricanes would have gone a long way towards securing a home Semi-final but the conditions were so poor that the a bonus point would have been a big ask. They still have a match in hand to secure that.

 

An all New Zealand final however is starting to look very much on the cards given where the teams are situated on the log.

 

The Hurricanes entered the penultimate round-robin round in third place on the championship table, behind the Crusaders and Waratahs, and improved to second with a methodical, two-tries to one win.


The Hurricanes put aside their usual high-tempo but risky running game in wet and slippery conditions and adopted a style which emphasized territory and possession. They achieved overwhelming advantages in both areas – more than 80 percent of territory and 56 percent of possession -but their scoring was heavily constrained by a determined and organized Force defence.


The quality of the defensive performance was demonstrated by the fact the Force held the Hurricanes scoreless for more than 40 minutes, despite those massive advantages of territory and possession, between the 11th minute of the first half, when Hore scored, and the 13th minute of the second, when Piri Weepu enlarged a 10-3 halftime lead with a penalty.


Hooker Hore has made try-scoring a habit this season and he closed on the tournament’s top try-scorer – Chiefs winger Lelia Masaga who has seven -with the only try of Friday’s first half.


The Hurricanes pack rumbled the ball to the goalline in the 11th minute and Hore, driving hard and low, promoted the ball over the line.


The Hurricanes spent more than 30 minutes of the match inside the Force 22 but spent themselves with fruitless raids on an unyielding defensive line, and they failed to gain a valuable four-try bonus point.


The Hurricanes had to wait until the 63rd minute when a lineout turnover created their second try, scored by winger Hosea Gear.


“I’m very pleased with the way the boys played, especially in conditions which were not very good for rugby,” Hurricanes captain Rodney So’oialo said.


“We were still trying to get a bonus point but the Force defended very well and made it hard to come out with a win.”


Force lock and captain Nathan Sharpe, who played most of the match with an apparent shoulder injury and won all of his team’s lineout ball, personally rallied the defense.


He was well supported among the forwards by young open-side flanker David Pocock and in the backs by Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell, who also seemed to struggle with an injury.


The Force had few opportunities to test the Hurricanes defense but took some consolation, as their own semifinal chances finally ebbed away, with a 75th minute try against the run of play to fullback Cameron Shepherd.


The Hurricanes will face the Blues in next week’s last round.

 

Final Score Hurricanes 21 Force 10

 

Scorers

 

Hurricanes

Tries – Andrew Hore ,Hosea Gear
Pen – Piri Weepu (6)
Con – Piri Weepu

 

Force

Tries – Cameron Shepherd
Pen – Matt Giteau  
Con -Matt Giteau  

Cards – David Pocock 55 (yellow)

 

Friday May 9
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee:
Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
TMO: Garatt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assessor: Alan Riley (New Zealand)

 

Teams

Hurricanes:


Cory Jane, Hosea Gear, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Zac Guildford, Willie Ripia, Piri Weepu, Rodney So’oialo, Scott Waldrom, Chris Masoe, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Neemia Tialata, Andrew Hore, Tim Fairbrother.


Reserves: Hikawera Elliot, John Schwalger, Craig Clarke, Thomas Waldrom, Alby Mathewson, Jimmy Gopperth, Shannon Paku.


Emirates Western Force


1. Gareth Hardy,2. Tai McIsaac,3. Troy Takiari,4. David Pusey,5. Nathan Sharpe (c),6. Matt Hodgson,7. David Pocock,8. Richard Brown,9. James Stannard,10. Matt Giteau (vc),11. Drew Mitchell,12. James O’Connor,13. Josh Tatupu,14. Dane Haylett-Petty,15. Cameron Shepherd


Reserves:16. Luke Holmes,17. Kieran Longbottom,18. Sitaleki Timani,19. Sam Wykes,20. Chris O’Young,21. Scott Daruda,22. Haig Sare


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