Cape Town - Ben Lam led the way with a hat-trick of tries as the Hurricanes
secured a deserved 28-19 victory over the Lions in Wellington on Saturday.
In a fast-paced and entertaining encounter, the Hurricanes were
full value for their win and although the Lions finished stronger, the home
side outscored them four tries three to notch their eighth successive victory.
The win means the Hurricanes close the gap on New Zealand Conference
leaders the Crusaders although the men from Wellington will rue the fact that
they failed to secure a try-scoring bonus point and they are now two points
adrift of the men from Christchurch on the table.
Meanwhile, the Lions are still in first place in the South
African Conference although the second-placed Jaguares have closed the gap in
the standings to seven points after their win over the Chiefs in Rotorua on
The game came alive in the eighth minute when Lam gathered a
loose pass just outside his 22 and shrugged off tackles from Ruan Combrink and
Lionel Mapoe before crossing for the opening try in the left-hand corner.
The Lions tried to fight back but despite some forays into the
Hurricanes' half, they were kept at bay by a resilient defensive effort from
And to make matters worse for the visitors, they lost the
services of their Springbok hooker, Malcolm Marx, who was forced off the field
with a leg injury shortly after Lam's first try.
The Hurricanes continued to dominate as the half progressed and
in the 25th minute they increased their lead when Ardie Savea crossed for their
second try after Matt Proctor set him up with a superb line break in the
Beauden Barrett converted both tries which gave the Hurricanes a
14-0 lead but the Lions fought back bravely and narrowed the gap on the stroke
of half-time when Nic Groom crossed for a try from close quarters.
Elton Jantjies added the extras which meant the Lions were back
in the game with the score 14-7 to the Hurricanes at half-time.
The second half started brightly for the home side and five
minutes after the restart they took the ball through some phases in the Lions'
22 before Ngani Laumape threw a long pass to Lam, who stepped past a couple of
defenders before dotting down.
The Hurricanes stepped up a couple of gears on attack and
increased their lead in the 54th minute when Beauden Barrett, Ardie Savea,
Laumape and Proctor all played prominent roles in creating space for Lam, who
outsprinted the cover defence before crossing for his third try.
That score saw the Lions ringing the changes off their bench and
they narrowed the gap shortly afterwards when Marnus Schoeman burrowed his way
over the try-line although Jantjies' conversion attempt was off target.
The Lions dominated the latter stages of the match and in the
75th minute, Sylvian Mahuza scored their third try which added some
respectability to the final score.
Hurricanes 28 (14)
Tries: Ben Lam (3), Ardie Savea
Conversions: Beauden Barrett (4)
Lions 19 (7)
Tries: Nic Groom, Marnus Schoeman, Sylvian Mahuza
Conversion: Elton Jantjies (2)
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Nehe Milner-Skudder
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Franco Mostert (captain), 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Ashlon Davids, 22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sylvian Mahuza