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Hurricanes win thriller in Wellington

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Jordie Barrett conversion wins seesaw game for Hurricanes

The Hurricanes dented the Blues’ title hopes with an exhilarating victory in New Zealand’s capital. The Hurricanes thrice fought back against a strong Blues side and edged out to win a thriller at the death thanks to a Jordie Barrett conversion.

 

First half

Early on, a brilliant Ngani Laumape try responded to a first-minute penalty by Otere Black. Laumape breezed past Beauden Barrett with an in-out step and sped away down the touchline before bulldozing his way over poor Otere Black and the try line.

Beauden Barrett had a torrid time on his return to Wellington. Fans even booed him on multiple occasions during the game.

Soon after, Beauden Barrett answered back with a try of his own. Black and Mark Telea connecting well before Barrett sold a dummy and raced over the line. Black’s conversion made the score 7-10 after ten minutes.

In an almost mirror image to Laumape’s first try, he nearly scored again. A break by Kerefi gave the inside centre space as he bounced off Barrett and was tackled just short of the line. The Blues lost Emoni Narawa to the bin for lying in the way, but the home side could not capitalise.

The visitors then utilised their dominant maul by scoring through Dalton Papalii. His score went unconverted, but they were eight points clear with half an hour played.

The Hurricanes, however, hit back in similar fashion. Reed Prinsep managed to bundle his way over from a strong maul, but the normally pinpoint Barrett missed his conversion.

On the stroke of half time, the men in yellow found themselves in the Blues’ 22 and earnt themselves a penalty to tie up the scores. Barrett duly converted and the teams went into the second half on level pegging.

 

Second half

The second half saw more exquisite attacking play from both sides, but it was the Hurricanes who struck first. Another good break by Laumape set them up in the opposition 22 and the returning Dane Coles picked a good line, allowing him to put his side ahead. Barrett’s conversion made the score 22-15 and the Blues saw the title slipping away from them.

Dane Coles was at his very best despite only just returning from injury.

Through a phenomenal effort, the Blues turned the fixture on its head by scoring two quickfire tries. Again, they capitalised on their powerful mauling play and scored through Akira Ioane and Kurt Ekland. Significantly, Beauden Barrett missed one of the conversions to give them a five-point lead, rather than seven.

Following some messy play and solid defence from the Blues, it looked like they would hold on to win. Unperturbed, the Hurricanes kept attacking and eventually their hard work paid dividends.

The Wellington outfit worked their way into the Blues 22 once again, with some help from the ever-threatening Laumape. They won a penalty and went to touch before Asafo Aumua powered over from the maul.

With the conversion out wide still to come, Jordie Barrett had the weight of Wellington on his shoulders. With a brilliant clutch kick, he nailed the two points and with it the game. The Hurricanes had managed to win this thriller of an encounter by the skin of their teeth.

 

What next?

The Blues will be heartbroken to lose like this, not least of all because it could cost them the title. They will host the winless Chiefs next week and will be looking to recover from two losses on the bounce.

The Hurricanes, on the other hand, will be ecstatic to have beaten the side that stole Beauden Barrett from them. They take a trip back to the South Island to face the seemingly invincible Crusaders. With this win, though, they are back in the title race and need to claim victory again in their next fixture.

 

We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Hurricanes win thriller in Wellington’. Do you think this loss has cost the Blues the title? Let us know!

 

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Eddie is currently studying for his BA in French at Bristol University. He has played rugby since a young age, playing a variety of positions in the back line. His passionate interest in sport, especially rugby, has encouraged him to transfer it to journalism, working with his university paper, Epigram, in addition to his role with Sporting Ferret.

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