Hurricanes blow away Force
February 20, 2010
The Hurricanes' Aaron Cruden evades the Western Force's Sam Wykes during their clash in Wellington © Getty Images
Australia Blues Brumbies Bulls Cheetahs Chiefs Crusaders Force Highlanders Hurricanes Lions New South Wales Waratahs New Zealand Queensland Reds Reds Sharks South Africa Stormers Waratahs
The Hurricanes blew away an injury-hit Western Force side 47-22 to secure a bonus point and continue their winning start to the new season in Wellington on Saturday.
The 2010 edition of Super 14 is promising to be a points-fest and this match at Westpac Stadium was no different, with the home team running in seven tries to the visitors' three. A stubborn Force outfit held the Hurricanes to an 18-8 half-time lead, but a series of repelled attacks at the try line and missed kicks by young fullback James O'Connor seemed to dishearten the Force, removing any chance of an upset.
Corey Jane and David Smith got the hosts off to a hot start but Josh Tatapu hit back to add to O'Connor's early penalty. O'Connor's conversion attempt from out wide hit the post and then the crossbar before missing by inches. Then his penalty attempt from in front and medium range shaved the post and missed on the cusp of half time. O'Connor played in No.15 but spent the game at first receiver, the young Wallaby tasked with steering the Perth-based side around the park in the absence of injured fly-half options Andre Pretorius and Mark Bartholomeusz.
The Hurricanes put their foot on the accelerator in the second half and took control through tries to Michael Paterson, Smith, Neemia Tialata, Ma'a Nonu and debutant Tyson Keats - the points were coming in from all angles and the Force's tackling left a lot to be desired as their heads dropped. Each team took the opportunity to blood some youngsters, particularly the injury-ridden Force, and there were tries on debut for Dane Haylett-Petty and Chris O'Young, albeit consolations.
The Stormers also made it two wins from two game with a 27-6 victory over the Waratahs at Newlands. Springboks winger Bryan Habana opened his accont for the year with two tries with flanker Francois Louw crossing for the hosts other score. Fullback Joe Pietersen converted all three scores and added two penalties with the Waratahs' only points coming from the boot of Berrick Barnes.
The Chiefs won a helter-skelter game of 18 tries 72-65 against the Lions at Ellis Park on Friday night, breaking the aggregate score record for the Super 14. Callum Bruce crossed the Lions' line in the opening minute to set the tone, with Stephen Donald extending the lead from the kicking tee. Earl Rose landed two penalties in response before Chiefs skipper Sione Lauaki saw yellow for a spear tackle.
Despite their man disadvantage the Chiefs scored next as Richard Kahui carved through some static Lions defence from first-phase. Impressive young wing Wandile Mjekevu hit back immediately for the home side, picking a nice angle and backing his pace to score in the corner. Aled de Malmanche followed Lauaki to the bin for collapsing a maul and the home side rallied with an excellent try to US Eagles skipper Todd Clever.
Former All Black Carlos Spencer tormented the Chiefs with the third score as the Lions played some excellent high-tempo rugby but the home side squandered a number of attacking opportunities, allowing Donald to dart in and score under the posts for a 27-25 half-time lead. Liam Messam extended the lead immediately after the break as the game broke down in the Chiefs' favour.
Kahui added a quick-fire brace to complete his hat-trick, while Junior Poluleuligaga and Sitiveni Sivivatu rounded off flowing team moves. Doppies la Grange scored the Lions' bonus-point try after Kahui was binned harshly for a dump tackle, and Tonderai Chavhanga brought up the century of points out wide. Mjekevu's hat-trick arrived before the end, but only after Chiefs scrum-half Brendon Leonard had racked up 70 points for the visitors. Cobus Grobelaar scored the Lions' eighth and Jacques Lombard the ninth to secure a remarkable second bonus-point.
Elsewhere on Friday, the Cheetahs secured their first win of the new season with a gutsy 25-20 victory over the Sharks in Durban. Fullback Riaan Viljoen scored a brilliant individual try for the visitors while Ryan Kankowski replied in vain for the Sharks, who lost by a single point to the Chiefs last weekend.Rory Kockott and Naas Olivier traded early penalties but both sides were under pressure following an error-riddled start.
Viljoen ignited a tense game, collecting a Garryowen on his own 22 before carving a path through some static Sharks defence. Ruan Pienaar bought the fullback's final dummy and he glided across to give the visitors the lead. Kockott missed two shots at goal as the crowd grew restless, but was handed two simple opportunities before the break by some over-zealous Cheetahs defence.
The Sharks hit the front immediately after the restart thanks to Kankowski, but the visitors showed determination to provide Olivier with another successful shot at goal. Viljoen assumed kicking duties for a long-range shot and extended the Cheetahs' lead as the clock ticked past an hour. Kockott reduced the arrears as the Sharks' scrum won a penalty but a drop-goal from Olivier re-opened a five-point margin. Olivier put the game to bed with another penalty before Kockott slotted a last-minute penalty that brought a bonus-point to the hosts.
The Reds scored the first major upset of this season's Super 14 with a 41-20 bonus point victory over the Crusaders in Brisbane. The Crusaders have frequently dug themselves out of a hole on Queensland soil in previous years but not on this occasion as the Reds atoned for last week's final quarter 28-30 meltdown against the Waratahs by holding their composure throughout. Ahead 14-6 at the break, the Reds maintained the rage to deservedly secure the four-try bonus point when the irrepressible Quade Cooper - who compiled a record 31 points - intercepted an Andy Ellis pass to stroll between the posts with five minutes remaining.
The Reds were Crusader-like in their execution, capitalising on a wealth of turnover ball to run in some superb counter attacking tries, notably through speedster Rod Davies when lock Adam Byrnes was in the sinbin for delaying the Crusaders' opening five-pointer. When Ellis dived over a minute after Byrnes was yellow-carded close to the line on the hour, a trademark Crusaders comeback threatened - though only briefly. Morgan Turunui swiftly picked up off a dropped ball and set Davies on an angled 40-metre run to the line to put the Reds out of sight at 34-13 before Cooper iced a compelling performance.
The Blues also returned to winning ways with a 19-15 victory over the Highlanders at Carisbrook. Blues fullback Paul Williams opened the scoring in the first half and grabbed another in the second half after a Michael Hobbs try and conversion had given the Highlanders a 12-7 lead at the break.
Williams also created his second try which in the 52nd minute put the Blues back into the lead. His clearing kick was charged down, putting all his players in front of him onside and prop John Afoa thundered upfield, before gifting a supporting Williams the final pass for the converted try. The Blues took control thereafter through their forwards and Rene Ranger finished off a series of surges which had pinned the Highlanders into desperate defence. There was no coming back when the Highlanders lost lock Josh Bekhuis to the sinbin late in the game although Israel Dagg had earlier closed the gap with a 59th minute penalty.
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