Hurricanes overpower Kings in Wellington
March 30, 2013
Ben May got the Hurricanes off to a good start
© Getty Images
Beauden Barrett Demetri Catrakilis Ronnie Cooke Hannes Franklin Ben May Brad Shields Conrad Smith Steven Sykes Jeremy Thrush
The Hurricanes overpowered the Southern Kings in Wellington to claim their third win of the campaign, achieving their bonus-point victory on the impressive power and go-forward of the tight five, but they were disappointed by the ill-discipline that would have proved more costly against more experienced and better rivals than the Super Rugby newcomers. And the 16-point margin flattered the hosts as the Kings, much improved from the team humbled by the Crusaders in round six, matched them in almost every aspect of the game.
The hosts claimed their bonus point shortly before half-time, when Jeremy Thrush crashed over the line from short range to cap a period of sustained pressure and power running by the pack, but those same forwards had also allowed the Kings to remain in the game; they had conceded points too easily through soft penalties, and Ben May, who had crashed through Wimpie van der Walt to score the opening try of the game, failed to see the danger when Steven Sykes got the ball from an attacking maul and allowed the Kings lock unmolested passage to the posts.
The Hurricanes led by 13 points at the break, when coach Mark Hammett stressed the importance of "intensity", having to "tighten the screws" and "guarding against ill-discipline" in the second half, but they were soon aware - if they had not been already - that the Kings were not the same team dispatched the previous week by the Crusaders.
Conrad Smith capped a fine move by the Hurricanes in the first half © Getty Images
The home side lacked the intensity they had been alerted at the break to maintain and increase, and they continued to give away penalties. The Kings took advantage of pressure to launch a hard-running, straight-line backline move that put Ronnie Cook, on the left wing after Kiwi Hadleigh Parkes had been substituted with what was later reported to be an arm broken in three places, into space to cross for a converted try that reduced the margin to eight points.
The Kings at this point were on top, and they had a chance to close the margin furthe only for Demetri Catrakilis to pull his penalty attempt - his first miss of the day on his last action in the game - and they were never again to threaten the home side.
Brad Shields gave the Hurricanes a little breathing room 15 minutes from full-time, when he galloped clear of the defence to score a converted try after a pop pass from Barrett in a short-side move from a ruck, and the home side thereafter played on the front foot. Alapati Leiua and Julian Savea each saw more of the ball in the final quarter, and Leiua was key in the Hurricanes blowing out the final score, making a long breakaway that eventually led to a penalty goal from Barrett and intercepting a pass to run away for a try.
Any sense of satisfaction in the Hurricanes' camp was undone when Kings replacement hooker Hannes Franklin crashed over unopposed through another ruck, but the score was the least the visitors deserved.
The Southern Kings made the Hurricanes work hard for the victory (video available only in Australia)
© ESPN Australia / New Zealand