Hurricanes Hold Out Sharks

The Hurricanes defeated the Sharks 32-24 in their Super Rugby clash at the Wetspac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand on Saturday.  Five minutes into the game Bismarck Du Plessis pounced on a loose ball after the Canes had lost a line out in their red zone and Du Plessis punished the hosts and scored.

Frans Steyn would go on to convert.  Three minutes later Lionel Cronje’s attempt to intercept play fell through as he dropped the ball just when, if he had held on, he would’ve been clear through to the try line.  In the 12th minute the home team countered out wide, exchanged passes with the last pass finding Cory Jane who reached the try line.  James Marshall successfully converted.

Four minutes later and after 22 phases of attack in the red zone the visitors won a penalty which Steyn slotted.  In the 19th minute Conrad Smith found ample space to score under the posts.  This was as a result of some poor defending from the opponents.

Then some pressure play caused Etienne Oosthuizen to make a high tackle which earned him a yellow card and 10 minutes in the sin bin.  The Durbanites managed to keep the score line the same until Oosthuizen was allowed back onto the field.  With his return, they turned around the pressure and were unlucky to not reach the try line as the New Zealanders conceded several penalties to break down play.

One minute from half-time Steyn lined up a penalty from 51 metres out, in the middle of the park.  He missed the kick as he dragged his effort to the left.  At the break the hosts were leading 14-10.  Directly from the start of the second half, while on the attack, Chris Smylie lost possession after a massive tackle from Du Plessis saw him drop the ball.

With the turnover gained Du Plessis kicked the up field then won a penalty on the attacking 22.  From this the back line exchanged hands allowing S’bura Sithole space to get over the try line in the corner. Steyn converted.

In the 52nd minute Reg Goodes barged over the try line after a period of attack by his team.  Marshall converted.  In the 60th minute the Durban franchise won a penalty from five metres out.  They opted for a lineout instead and as a result Marcell Coetzee got over the try line from a powerful maul.

However the TMO judged that there was an exchange of lanes and the try was disallowed.  The Sharks were awarded a penalty instead.  Four minutes later Odwa Ndungane rounded off a back line move to score near the corner.

Steyn converted.  At this juncture of the game the visitors looked like marine predators that had sensed a drop of blood as they played with more intensity.  In the 72nd minute Jeremy Thrush responded from his area, as he got over the try line in the corner.

Marshall however missed this conversion.  Five minutes later Marshall slotted an easy penalty to pull the game away from the visitors.  From this point the Canes kept possession which clearly frustrated their opponents.

They would win a late penalty which Marshall comfortably slotted to run out 32-24 winners.

Hurricanes Match Stats:

Tries – C Jane, C Smith, R Goodes, J Thrush
Cons – J Marshall (3)
Pens – J Marshall (2)

Sharks Match Stats:

Tries – B Du Plessis, S Sithole, O Ndungane
Cons – F Steyn (3)
Pens – F Steyn
Cards – (yellow) 21st minute E Oosthuizen