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29 Feb 2008 11:40
The Wellington Hurricanes beat the Waikato Chiefs 39-19 with a six-try blitz in their Super 14 rugby clash on Friday.
The Hurricanes finally played to their potential as they eliminated the errors that had plagued their opening two matches.
They started with a roar and their wide running game ensured the bonus-point fourth try within 25 minutes.
Although the Chiefs gained control for the next half hour, they were unable to sustain the pressure and the Hurricanes scored two more tries in the closing stages.
With the passes sticking, and a willingness to run at every opportunity, the Hurricanes were able enhance their second win of the season with their first bonus point.
The Chiefs could only show glimpses of quality and they let themselves down with too many turnovers, to remain winless after three games.
“Our errors, our turnovers really hurt us and the Hurricanes are really good at taking that counter-attacking opportunity,” said Tom Willis, who assumed the Chiefs’ captaincy when Jono Gibbes was taken off before half-time with a leg injury.
But while it was all gloom in the Chiefs’ camp, Hurricanes captain Rodney So’oialo was relieved his team was able to stick to their game plan after misfiring in the opening two rounds.
“We’ve got a few games under our belt now and the boys are starting to get their confidence, and that really shows in the result.”
In the opening quarter, Hurricanes linebreakers Jerry Collins and Ma’a Nonu were a constant threat, drawing in the Chiefs’ defence and laying the platform for an expansive game.
Nonu scored first from a 50m run, and Jimmy Gopperth, replacement halfback Alby Mathewson and Shannon Paku followed. Three Gopperth conversions had the Hurricanes quickly ahead 26-5.
But the Chiefs were not going to roll over.
Tony Lynn, who replaced the injured Gibbes, secured a turnover with his first touch of the ball and Stephen Donald raced 60m untouched to score.
Donald converted his own try, and the Hurricanes led 26-12 at the turn.
The Chiefs dominated the opening stages of the second half and were rewarded with a try to Tanerau Latimer, converted by Donald.
With the gap reduced to 26-19, Hurricanes captain Rodney So’oialo led his troops to regain the ascendancy with a try 20 minutes from time.
Fellow All Blacks loose forward Chris Masoe also scored and inside centre Tane Tu’ipulotu added a drop goal on full-time.—AFP
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