We’ve all heard the old saying that ‘defence wins you games and attack determines the margin’. Well the Hurricanes definitely showed that to be true with an impressive 34-12 over the Western Force in Perth.
The Hurricanes scored six tries to two which can be largely atrributed to a heroic defensive effort followed by the razzle dazzle we’ve come to expect from the Canes.
For the Force it’s a case of what could have been after they were camped on the Hurricanes try line for much of the match but where unable to convert.
The match started out in true Canes’ fashion in the second minute. Fullback Jordie Barrett darted down the blind side for 40 meters before handing the ball out to man-mountain Laumape who bumped off Dane Haylett-Petty to dot down in the corner.
From here the Canes would put on a defensive master class with the Force camped in their 22 for over six minutes of the first half.
The westerners sent wave after wave of attack but the Canes stayed strong and somehow managed to repel them.
The Force were dealt a major blow in the 24th minute when inspirational captain Matt Hodgson limped from the field.
They continued the assault on the Hurricanes’ line but were repelled again. 35 minutes had passed but the score was still 7-0 to the Kiwis.
Then the Canes showed why they are the reigning champions and marched the ball from one end of the field to the other for LHP Loni Uhilato to score, again, in the corner.
Western Force Coach Dave ‘Blood’ Vessels would have been happy with the effort shown by his players but would have been disappointed to have come away empty handed.
Half-time score: Hurricanes 12 – Force 0
The Force camped on the Hurricanes try line again after the break but were still unable to score points.
Then a piece of Beauden Barrett defensive magic denied Force winger Verity-Amm a try in the corner.
The Force were dealt another blow losing Coleman to a neck injury but they continued to press on in his absence.
Camped in the Hurricanes 22 and with an advantage up their sleeves Peter Grant put up a high ball which somehow found the grass from were Dane Haylett-Petty was able to pick up the crumbs and score the Force’s first try.
Grant converted; all the above happened in the first five minutes after the interval. Hurricanes 12-7.
Now it was the Canes’ turn to attack and attack they did.
Ross Haylett-Petty was immense on defence defusing two try-scoring opportunities for the Canes.
But the Kiwis weren’t to be denied, with Apasai scoring in the corner following a slick lineout move to open up a ten-point gap on the Force at 54 minutes.
The Force again bludgeoned the Canes’ try line . No result.
At one point it appeared that Peter Grant had threaded his way through the defence but he was denied by another super try-saving tackle by Beauden Barrett.
The Canes showed their class when TJ Perenara put in a magical grubber which was finished off by Vince ‘twinkle toes’ Aso. Hurricanes 27-7 with 13 minutes remaining.
This is where it all went wrong for the Force. Following the Aso try Referee Rohan Hoffman asked to check a late tackle on TJ Perenara by stand-in Force skipper Dane Haylett-Petty.
Hoffman can be heard saying that he believed that Haylett-Petty had turned his shoulder and tried to get out of the way and called play on but TMO Mitchelmore appeared to contradict him and DHP had to go to the bin.
The Force were now down to their fourth captain of the night and were without their star fullback. The Hurricanes took full advantage scoring two tries in four minutes to seal the match.
The Force could have been forgiven if they let their heads drop however that isn’t their style and they continued to attack.
They showed their never-give-up attitude and in the 81st minute the lion-hearted Richard ‘Dickie’ Hardwick carried two Kiwis with him over the line to dot down in the corner.
Final score: Hurricanes 34 – Force 12
The Game Changer
The terrible call from the TMO acquiesced to by Hoffman, who should have been more dominant.
The yellow card ultimately lead the the opening of the floodgates.
The G&GR MOTM
TJ Perenara’s reading of the play to attack the vulnerable point was telling, but the G&GR MOTM was Beauden Barrett. On his return from concussion he showed his class producing two-try saving tackles and leading from the front.
Dane Haylett-Petty is back into full swing now after his injury. Richard Hardwick from the Aussie training squad confirmed his promise and Isi Naisarani had some brutish short runs through traffic.
Score & Scorers
Force – 12
Tries: D. Haylett-Petty (43′), R. Hardwick (80′).
Conversions: P. Grant (45′).
Hurricanes – 34
Tries: N. Laumape (1′, 71′), L. Uhila (36′), L. Apisai (54′), V. Aso (67′), TJ Perenara (68′).
Conversions: B. Barrett (3′, 72′).
Cards & Citings
Force – D. Haylett-Petty (67′) – obstruction
Hurricanes – N. Laumape (76′) – offside red zone
Photos courtesy of “Delphy” – thank you