Hurricanes can take over the top with a win   21 Mar 2006

Ellie van Baaren

The Blues came through to topple the previously unbeaten Brumbies, while the Hurricanes won with another late surge, the Highlanders began their customary descent and the Crusaders just kept on trucking. ELLIE VAN BAAREN takes a look at round six of the Super 14.

Well, maybe it was my heartfelt "go the Blues" in last week’s paper, but the Blues did what many, especially the Brumbies’ new coach, thought they couldn’t – they rediscovered their winning ways and downed the previously unbeaten Canberra side. Someone had a lot of egg on their face when last Saturday rolled around that’s for sure.

The Blues targeted the Brumbies’ lineout, denying them the platform for their attack, looking to keep the ball in the air rather than risk falling prey to the spoiling tactics of George Smith. It was much more a performance of the Blues of old and a welcome return to the winner’s circle for the embattled Auckland side.

With several major injury concerns blighting the side’s progress, the news that Luke McAlister is expected to pass his fitness test on Friday will be welcome as they head off to take on the side that took the Brumbies’ place on the table, the Waratahs.

The NSW side can overtake the Crusaders at the top of the table by beating the Blues as the Canterbury side have a bye this week. The Waratahs were the latest side to thrash the woeful Reds, a team that has been ravaged by injury, beating them 32-7 in Brisbane.

The Blues will face the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.

The Hurricanes also have the chance to overtake the Crusaders if they win their clash with the Sharks in Wellington on Friday. The Canes needed a late surge from an Andrew Hore try to beat the Bulls in Pretoria at the weekend, finally winning 26-23 after trailing for most of the match.

We’re not even half way through the competition, but it seems the Hurricanes are determined to hold on to their form all the way through to the final four. The side has been more composed and mature than in the past few years proved by captain Rodney So’oialo’s decision in the dying minutes of the team’s last two games to kick for touch rather than go for the penalty.

In both cases, So’oialo’s men ended up triumphant. His comment both times has been that the team’s patience paid off, and he’s right. The Hurricanes of old had a tendency to freak out when finding themselves behind with just minutes to play – usually ending up throwing the ball away or conceding soft last minute tries. However, this new incarnation puts their collective head down, sticks to the game plan and ends up delivering the goods.

With the inspirational Umaga out of the game for the moment, the leadership of So’oialo and his group of senior players has to be commended. This was the Hurricanes’ first win against the Bulls side from four attempts.

Just when we thought the Highlanders might be turning over a new leaf, the team began its familiar decline. After winning their first two matches on their South African tour, the Southerners fell to their second successive loss and the most painful thing was the fact their opponents were spearheaded by one of their own – Tony Brown.

The former golden boy of Otago rugby, Brown returned to his old stomping ground and proceeded to play a pivotal part in his new team’s much-needed win. He kicked three penalties and a conversion and his tactical kicking helped keep the Highlanders pinned in their own half for much of the second spell.

The final score was 26-11 to the South African side and the Highlanders were left to ready themselves for their final South African opponent, the Cats, who they face in Invercargill.

There’s not too much to say about the Crusaders. The only unbeaten side in the competition, the Canterbury team needed the injection of captain Richie McCaw and All Black Chris Jack from the bench to ensure the win, but they’re now sitting pretty and facing a bye for round seven.

crusaders

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share

News

Biosecurity New Zealand launched

30 Apr 2018 Environment By Hon Damien O'Connor
  30 April 2018 Minister for Biosecurity Damien O’Connor launched Biosecurity New Zealand at the Zealandia... more

Opinion: Auckland Regional fuel tax vote a victory for progress

30 Apr 2018 News By Hon Phil Tywford
30 April 2018 Auckland Council is to be congratulated for this afternoon voting 15-2 in favour of the regional fuel tax, Transport... more

Business

Minister hails new Secure Exports Scheme partner

30 Apr 2018 Business News By Hon Meka Whaitiri
30 April 2018 Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri today welcomed the signing of a partnership between New Zealand Customs and dairy... more

RBNZ Governor supports macro-prudential policy

16 Mar 2018 Business News
Macro-prudential policy has been particularly useful in the current environment of globally low interest rates, where monetary policy... more

Living

Kiwi indie-pop trio heads to London for the very first time - and the show is already sold out

30 May 2018 Arts By Charlotte Everett
Indie-pop trio nomad have left New Zealand behind to tour internationally for the first time. NZNewsUK London Editor Charlotte Everett... more

Thousands turn out to ANZAC services in London

27 Apr 2018 ANZAC By Charlotte Everett
Image by Peter Livingstone; article by Charlotte Everett   “I’m of the generation who grew up with elders from the... more

Property

No new solutions in housing report

12 Feb 2018 Property By Michael Woodhouse
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2018   The Government's housing stocktake report released today adds no new knowledge or... more

Stocktake finds housing crisis deeper, more entrenched

12 Feb 2018 Property
12 FEBRUARY 2018 An independent stocktake of New Zealand’s housing sector has found the housing crisis the country faces is deeper... more

Migration

Community organisations chosen to sponsor refugees in New ZealandI

26 Jan 2018 Migration By Hon Iain Lees-Galloway
26 JANUARY 2018 Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has today announced the four community-based organisations who will be the... more

Building occupations added to skill shortage list

14 Dec 2017 Migration By Iain Lees-Galloway
15 DECEMBER 2017 It will be easier for the building industry to find the workers it needs to help address New Zealand’s housing... more

Travel

International visitors spend $10.6bn in year to December

22 Feb 2018 Travel & Tourism
International visitor spending reached a record high of $10.6 billion in the year to December 2017, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis... more

NZ Election 2017: Tourism fund for infrastructure and conservation

28 Aug 2017 Travel & Tourism
Tourism fund for infrastructure and conservation Posted by Kris Faafoi on August 28, 2017 Labour will estaba Tourism and... more

Sport

French win over England timely for All Blacks

13 Mar 2018 Rugby By Lynn McConnell
  12 March 2018 France's upset victory over England in the Six Nations at the weekend was the perfect result for the All... more

Winter Olympics: NZ Triples Medal Count in Single Day

22 Feb 2018 Sport
New Zealand has tripled its Olympic Winter Games medal count in a single stunning afternoon at PyeongChang 2018. Zoi... more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf The ghastly likes of Marine Le Pen in France and Geert ... more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome Well um.. on the bright side, there (probably)... more

Kiwi Success

New Auckland DHB chairs announced

30 Apr 2018 Appointments
30 April 2018 Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced new chairs to lead Auckland’s three District Health Boards. The... more

Law Commissioner appointed

29 May 2017 Appointments
29 May 2017 Former Secretary for Justice Belinda Clark has been appointed as Law Commissioner, Justice Minister Amy Adams announced... more

Recruitment

Auckland employment hubs benefit over 500 young job seekers

8 Mar 2018 Recruitment By Hon Willie Jackson
8 MARCH 2018 Minister of Employment Willie Jackson today visited the Auckland CBD Jobs and Skills Hub and the Southern Initiative in... more

Fastest growing jobs - NZ recruitment

21 Dec 2017 Recruitment
New Zealand’s increasing need for social services has seen jobs in the Community Services & Development industry among the... more