Wellington - Two tries to Blade Thompson carried the Hurricanes to an
upset 16-9 victory over the Crusaders in a crucial Super 15 derby clash in Wellington on
The unheralded lock scored the only tries in the
cliffhanger match, with the Hurricanes' second win of the season over
the Crusaders keeping alive their hopes of making the play-offs.
Crusaders continue to lead the New Zealand conference, equal with the Highlanders on 42 points but with a shade better differential,
while the Hurricanes are one point behind on 41.
second try was the game breaker, coming from turnover ball with seven
minutes remaining in the match and with the Crusaders attacking strongly
when trailing 9-11.
The big lock was first through on a Cory Jane chip kick and ran nearly 60 metres to score.
"It was a great effort.
"The boys had worked so hard on D
(defence) to keep them out.
"I'm still trying to take it in," Hurricanes
captain Jeremy Thrush said at the final whistle.
Not even the
injection of Kieran Read and Dan Carter into the Crusaders in the second
half was able to break the Hurricanes who appeared to be hurt least by
rustiness from the June-Test break.
Their kicking game pressured
the Crusaders who were indecisive under the high ball, while the
Crusaders return kicks too often sailed towards dangerman Julian Savea
without finding touch.
The first Hurricanes try came from Savea
latching on to a Crusaders' kick, chasing his own return kick to catch
Tom Taylor with the ball and with the turnover Thompson scored out wide.
Beauden Barrett landed two penalties to one by Colin Slade for the Hurricanes to lead 11-3 at the break.
Crusaders captain Ryan Crotty said they lost the game in the first half.
physicality wasn't quite there, our urgency wasn't there either. They
were beating us to the ball, and their break down was better than us. If
means we're desperate in the last two weeks," he said.
further Slade penalties after the break, the second just before he left
the field for a concussion test which he failed, narrowed the gap to
11-9 before Thompson sealed the game for the Hurricanes.
the Hurricanes remain in the top six, they are disadvantaged with a bye
in the final week and their one game left is away to the Chiefs next
The Crusaders have two games remaining, both at home, to the Blues and then the Highlanders. Scorers
Hurricanes: 16 - Tries: Blade Thompson (2); Penalties: Beauden Barrett (2)
Crusaders: 9 - Penalties: Colin Slade (3)Teams:Hurricanes:
15 Matt Proctor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Blade Thomson, 4 Jeremy Thursh (captain), 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Substitutes: 16 Motu Matu'u/Reggie Goodes, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Reggie Goodes/Brendon Edmonds, 19 James Broadhurst, 20 Jack Lam, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Hadleigh Parkes, 23 James MarshallCrusaders:
15 Tom Taylor, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty (captain), 11 Nafi Tuitavake, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Kieran Read, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Dan Carter, 23 Rob Thompson
Referee: Mike Fraser (NZL)