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MATCH REPORT: Hurricanes lose a classic in Sydney

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James Mortimer     03 May 2014     Getty Images

It was the first time in four matches during Round 12 that a New Zealand Conference team had lost, and was the Hurricanes first defeat in five games.

Rob Horne’s score was a great example of how breathless the match was throughout, crossing the try line with less than two minutes played to give the host’s the perfect start.

Big Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen blasted over taking a few defenders with him, starting an extraordinary chain of events which saw the tourists score 24 unanswered points in roughly the same amount of minutes.

After the prop scored his try, about a minute later the returning Wycliff Palu made a mess of an enterprising Waratahs effort to run the ball out from their own in goal area.

A fumble by the big number eight led to a Hurricanes try via Beauden Barrett.

Julian Savea then celebrated his 50th Super Rugby match with a five-pointer a few moments later, and suddenly it was 24-7.

Adam Ashley-Cooper, who helped set up his team’s first try, had a hand in the second as he gave an assist to Dave Dennis who bundled over to commence the fight back.

Bernard Foley followed soon after, and incredibly the Canes blitzkrieg has been pulled back.

It was 24-24 all at halftime.

Expectations of a blistering second half were tempered by a scoreless 12 minutes, before 29-year-old veteran Waratahs wing Matt Carraro scored a stretching try to give the hosts the edge.

Two penalties from sharpshooter Barrett made it a 31-30 game, before Stephen Hoiles profited from some soft hands from giant NSW wing Will Skelton to put the game beyond reach.

The Hurricanes usually reliable defence was splintered by a Waratahs team that made few mistakes, but more importantly the home team never dropped their heads despite the onslaught from the men from the Kiwi capital.

The result ensured that the Chiefs finish the twelfth round on top of the New Zealand Conference, while the Crusaders also leapfrog Mark Hammett’s men.

The Waratahs, claiming their sixth victory of the season, will finish the round embedded in the top six, just one competition point behind the Brumbies.

Waratahs 39

Tries: Horne (2), Dennis (30), Foley (34), Carraro (53), Hoiles (65)
Cons: Foley (3, 31, 35, 54)
Pens: Foley (39, 75)

Hurricanes 30

Tries: Toomaga-Allen (12), Barrett (24), SJ Savea (26)
Cons: Barrett (13, 25, 27)
Pens: Barrett (23, 58, 63)