The Wellington Hurricanes ran in six tries to beat South Africa’s Cheetahs 38-10 in their Super 14 match on Saturday.
Victory kept the New Zealanders’ hopes of a semifinal alive as they moved to 31 points on the standings, only one point behind the teams in third and fourth with three rounds remaining.
The Hurricanes return to New Zealand to face the bottom of the table Lions from South Africa in Wellington next week.
The Cheetahs enjoyed more possession but, in keeping with their season, they made too many basic errors to capitalise as they slumped to their ninth loss in 10 outings.
The home team gifted the Hurricanes two first-half tries after making most of the running.
After lock Jason Eaton had scored by bursting through a gap at a ruck in the 19th minute, the Cheetahs fell further behind when Hurricanes number eight Rodney So’oialo intercepted a pass by Juan Smith two minutes later.
Cheetahs wing Jongi Nokwe scored three minutes later to give the home side hope but it was short lived.
In the 35th minute Cheetahs’ tighthead prop CJ van der Linde inexplicably tried to chip the ball ahead in midfield. His errant kick was snapped up by lock Jeremy Thrush who raced 25m before offloading to centre Ma’a Nonu to score.
The Cheetahs couldn’t find a way through resolute Hurricanes defence in the second half and as they became more desperate the mistakes piled up.
Wing Zac Guildford scored in the 53rd minute to ensure a bonus point for the Hurricanes and fullback Corey Jane and flank Scott Waldrom added further tries before the final whistle. – Reuters