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    Hurricanes subdue Crusaders

    2014-06-28 11:30
    Blade Thomson is tackled by Andy Ellis (Getty Images)
    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 Saturday.

    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.

    The 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.

    Thompson's 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.

    "That was awesome.

    "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.

    "The 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.

    Two 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.

    Although 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 Friday.

    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 Marshall

    Crusaders:
    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)

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