Hurricanes survive Sunwolves scare
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Hurricanes’ second-half blitz made sure their record a 29-23 win over the Sunwolves in Japan on Friday.
Trailing 10-23 at half-time, the Hurricanes scored four unanswered tries to overtake a very impressive Sunwolves team.
It was certainly a match that most would’ve expected Hurricanes to dominate proceedings – even with All Black trio, Beauden and Jordie Barrett and Ardie Savea, missing from the squad.
Instead it was the Sunwolves, who started the match in sublime form. The Japanese team – axed from the Super Rugby 2020 competition – were the first to draw blood. Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco made a dazzling run before making a superb pass to Semisi Masirewa for the first points on the board. Hayden Parker added the extras for the 7-0 lead.
Minute later Parker extended the lead with a penalty, before Hurricanes hit back in the 15th minute.
A dummy pass made sure captain TJ Perenara sliced through a gap and strolled over the chalk for his side’s first try. Fletcher Smith made sure to convert the easy extras.
Hurricanes’ revival was short-lived as Parker added two additional penalties before Masirewa extended the lead with his second of converted try of match, 23-7.
Right on the stroke of half-time, Hurricanes were rewarded a penalty which Smith made no mistake to slot over, taking their tally to double figures.
The break certainly played in the favour of the Hurricanes. The Champions in 2016 and semi-finalists last season, roared back with 19 unanswered points, Ben Lam crashing over before Chase Tiatia and Wes Goosen added tries to complete the comeback for the Wellington side’s sixth win of the campaign.
“We’re happy to win, but give credit to the Sunwolves for putting us under pressure,” said Hurricanes captain TJ Perenara, who scored his side’s lone first-half try.
“The main thing for us is that we didn’t make as many errors in the second half — that’s what hurt us in the first half.”
Once again, the Sunwolves paid the price for some poor lineout play, notably in the build-up to Goosen’s go-ahead try.
“Our game plan is awesome,” insisted captain Dan Pryor after the team’s seventh loss of the year.
“On our day we can beat anyone, but lapses in concentration can give teams easy tries which we can’t afford.”
Tries: Masirewa 2
Cons: Parker 2
Pens: Parker 3
Tries: Perenara, Lam, Tiatia, Goosen
Cons: Smith 3
Hurricanes: 15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 Thomas Perenara (captain), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Fraser Armstrong.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Sam Henwood, 21 Richard Judd, 22 James Marshall, 23 Billy Proctor
Sunwolves: 15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Gerhard Van den Heever, 13 Josh Timu, 12 Rahboni Vosayaco, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Hendrik Tui, 7 Dan Pryor (captain), 6 Ben Gunter, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Nathan Vella, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Tom Rowe, 20 Shuhei Matshuhashi, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Jason Emery, 23 Jamie Henry
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)