Hurricane Force. Beaufort scale for wind and rain that has vessels racing below South Africa under bare poles trying not to be pooped by the trailing conditions.
Wind outside is 140km/h from the north. Inside the stadium it’s solid rain swirling eight points of the compass. At once.
There is no evidence that this conversation happened but it is imprinted on my imaginings.
Assistant: This hurricane is no good.
Beauden: Sure, it’s no good for them.
Assistant: (Raises eyebrow.) It’s no good for us either bro’.
Beauden: Yep… Yep… BUT. It’s no good… for them!
The Sharks get the first scoring opportunity of the match when Garth April gets an early penalty in front, but the Hurricane spirit is in the wind and drives the ball across goal – it should have been a sitter.
The wind is capricious. The kick exit (‘Canes) is OK. April kicks for territory in response but it’s too hard and looks like it will be blown dead, but holds up. The kicking duel continues until April fluffs one. First phase started by TJ Perenara gets the go forward going. Quick, short phases, forwards hitting forwards until the backs want territory. James Marshall speculates a grubber, then it’s Willie le Roux with return kicking duties peeling off metres. Slow ruck and a deep Michael Claassens box kick puts Beauden Barrett in trouble behind the goal line with a poor exit kick under pressure.
Ardie Savea passes from a collapsed scrum, Brad Shields kicks (!) a superb angle down the side line, with a great chase from Ardie Savea through a scrambling defence, and a complaisant wind takes it out for a gain of 50m.
9 minutes in April has another shot at goal after a penalty against the Canes, but it’s destroyed by the wind (again).
Canes get their first chance at points after a penalty against Garth April, not rolling away. Tough call. First points on the board as Barrett converts in spite the wind. 3-0 Canes
A mid field cross kick (Barrett into the hurricane) to Woodward who leaps over JP Pietersen and regains possession. A run from Ben May is stopped by super defence (Willie le Roux) inches from the line. Bustling Loni Uhila ram raids through to score. No conversion (wind). 8-0 Canes
Line out to Barrett who kicks long and with an unexpected bounce the ball skids along the line till the wind takes it out. 60m gain. Against the wind. Barrett is showing no respect for the conditions and it is creating havoc for the Sharks.
10m scrum loose head to the canes. Victor Vito protects his half with his body while bound, TJ Perenara scoots blind side, throws a snap pass to Marshall to score in the corner. Barrett again misses the conversion, making it 13-0.
Phillip Van der Walt is making hard yards when the Sharks have the ball, setting up an attack just yards from the line. Tendai Mtawarira burrows through but is denied on a double movement. Tough call.
Line out throws from both teams are poor (wind). No throw seems straight but the ref is overlooking the matter. Both teams could have scored more, but didn’t due to brilliant defence. Garth April is missing penalties (understandable) but Barret is kicking some of his.
Half time: Hurricanes 13 Sharks 0
Le Roux kick collected by Marshall for a 15m run to Perenara from just over half way bumping defence away to the 22. Does Perenara know the difference between 2 and 9? Offload to Woodward who does what wingers should. Finishes it. Try! “Barrett gives the wind no chance.” Converted. 20-0 to the Canes
Sharks need to score next.
It’s only a couple of minutes before the next score. Hurricanes manage to slow the rucks, a Claassans box kick (not much else happening) is caught on the fly by TJ PERANARA who gets through traffic, Uhila offloads to Vaea Fifita, bumping, bustling all the way. Try!
Well poop my decks. The Sharks have just been overtaken by the trailing conditions. Playing forwards on forwards, which doesn’t seem to be doing much for them. The Hurricanes have been playing backs on forwards and now the ‘Canes forwards are thinking like finishers. Silky skills.
Players have been having to hold the ball steady on the tee. It blows off anyway – Barrett continues the kick. It’s not about your kick, it’s about your conversation with the Hurricane. Converted (naturally). 27-0.
You’ll need to watch the rest. Coles off injured. It looks bad. At 52 minutes the Hurricanes are in ecstasy for the game of rugby. Reminds me of being twelve again and in love with rugby. And mud.
Perenara scores, converted by Barrett. 34-0. Chris Boyd pulls them off for next week. The last 20 is pretty dire with benches emptied and the Sharks looking like they just don’t want to be there.
Sloppy Shark handling after the bell. Shields takes advantage and scores. Sums the game up really. Woodward makes the conversion.
Full Time: Hurricanes 41 Sharks 0
First: Hurricanes keep an opposition try-less in Super Rugby. Ever.
First: A Nil score in finals rugby.
Six minutes into the second half -TJ Perenara bumping off Claassans who was the only Shark who could get a hand to him.
Man of the Match
This game was only going to end one way with Beauden Barratt’s boot. Vito, Shields, Savea all great. But unequivocally MOTM is TJ Peranara.
Score and Scorers
Tries: Loni Uhila(17′) James Marshall(21′) Jason Woodward(47′) Vaea Fifita(50′) TJ Perenara(59′) Brad Shields(81′)
Conversions: Beauden Barratt 3/5, Jason Woodward 1/1
Penalties: Beauden Barratt 1/1
Cards & Citings