Hurricanes rain on Crusaders' parade

Getty Images

Lynn McConnell     15 Jul 2017     Getty Images

The defending champions will play the Brumbies in Canberra next week while the Crusaders will host the Highlanders unless the Sharks can beat the Lions, leaving the Chiefs facing the trip to Cape Town for a game with the Stormers.

Taking time to settle after Beauden Barrett was unable to start due to a virus and then an injury suffered by Vince Aso in the warm-ups, the Hurricanes shifted Jordie Barrett to centre, started Wes Goosen on the wing and moved Nehe Milner-Skudder to fullback.

Barrett was outstanding once making the positional adjustment while his only missed shot at goal was from 53m out. Otherwise he scored the side's first try, landed four conversions and a penalty goal for 16 points.

The Crusaders were just the team to take advantage of the Hurricanes disruption and took only two minutes to create a chance on the right flank through flanker Jordan Taufua and lock Scott Barrett, for wing Seta Tamanivalu.

Early points were also scored by the Crusaders scrum who inflicted early pressure on the home side in some of their earliest excursions into Crusaders territory.

But it was the Crusaders who sucked up the pressure and got back into the Hurricanes to put Tamanivalu in for his second try after 13 minutes.

Second five-eighths Ngani Laumape came into his own early in the second quarter and started to go hard at punching into the Crusaders defence. Wing Julian Savea had some powerful runs down the left flank and with the Crusaders striking discipline issues in the tackle and in off-side play, the Hurricanes were able to build pressure.

That brought its reward with another midfield bust by Laumape which set up the Hurricanes forwards for several drive efforts before the ball was released for Laumape to drive defenders in and then allow first five-eighths Otere Black to slip a lovely pass for Barrett to race through to score.

More Crusaders indiscipline resulted in the Hurricanes' second try. Into the Crusaders' 22m area, they infringed and playing under advantage, the Hurricanes got the ball from a five-metre ruck and Black launched a cross-kick for Julian Savea to contest with Israel Dagg.

Savea got to the ball knocked it back to ground and was then able to land, secure the ball and move slightly infield for the try.

Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, from the restart hooker Ricky Riccitelli was penalised on the 22m line for playing the ball on the ground and Mo'unga's penalty goal regained the lead 15-14.

The Crusaders immediately built on that and from a scrum in front of the Hurricanes posts No.8 Kieran Read threw a long pass from the base of the scrum to fullback Israel Dagg who had enough room to go around his man to score in the 54th minute.

That just stirred the Hurricanes into action. In the 58th minute right wing Wes Goosen put a long kick into the unpatrolled 22m area and it was flanker Matt Todd who had to cover, only to be caught behind the goal-line. From the five-metre scrum halfback TJ Perenara ran the blind and fed Goosen over.

Then the Hurricanes got the benefit of a charge down of a David Havili kick which forced the ball to be scrambled into touch. From the lineout Julian Savea took the pass from Perenara to charge ahead and link with brother Ardie. When the ball emerged Laumape made room again with a break which saw him pass wide to flanker Vaea Fifita who scored out wide with Barrett's superb conversion taking the Hurricanes out to 28-22.

When Barrett landed his penalty goal in the 77th minute it came with the penalty count favouring the Hurricanes 6-16 and that told the story of the Crusaders night.

Scorers: Hurricanes 31 (Jordie Barrett, Julian Savea, Wes Goosen, Vaea Fifita tries; Barrett 4 con, pen) Crusaders 22 (Seta Tamanivalu 2, Israel Dagg tries; Richie Mo'unga 2 con, pen). HT: 7-12