The Hurricanes returned to winning ways in Super Rugby after trashing the Sharks 42-18 at Yarrow Stadium on Friday.
The Hurricanes returned to winning ways after trashing the Sharks 42-18 at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth on Friday.
In an absorbing – but at times ill-tempered – encounter, the Hurricanes outscored their visitors six tries to two with the Sharks always having to play catch-up after trailing from start to finish.
The Hurricanes had the match wrapped up at half-time after leading 25-3, and didn't make the same mistake as last week (when they threw away a 21-point lead away to the Cheetahs) as the hosts pushed on for a comprehensive win.
Whilst Sharks fans will feel aggrieved at some dubious refereeing decisions by Kiwi ref Glen Jackson and the TMO after two controversial tries were awarded, the Hurricanes were deserved winners in the end.
Played at a fast pace, both sides were keen to give the ball plenty of air with tackle-busting runs the order of the day.
Hurricanes full-back Andre Taylor gave the home crowd a taste of things to come after powering through two would-be defenders, before stepping on the gas to cruise in for his fifth try of the season. Beauden Barrett added the easy extras and the 'Canes were 7-0 ahead after 14 minutes played.
It looked like Sharks scrum-half Charl McLeod had hit back in perfect fashion with a try in the corner, but the TMO ruled that a foot was in touch thanks to a brilliant try-saving tackle by TJ Perenara.
Sharks pivot Frederic Michalak slotted over a penalty to narrow the gap slightly, only for Jack Lam to extend his team's lead after the flank was deemed to have scored under a pile of bodies. Once again, Barrett raised the flags with a simple conversion.
All hell broke loose soon afterwards when a scuffle between Jannie du Plessis and Karl Lowe ended in an all-out brawl with several players getting their boxing gloves out. The end result was a penalty to the Hurricanes – converted by Barrett – and both teams being white-carded by Jackson, with their feat now in the hands of the citing commisioner.
Barrett was on target with his second penalty of the first half, before speedster Julian Savea finished off a Hurricanes break-out in the corner on the stroke of half-time.
The Sharks come out strongly after the break, with Michalak sending over another three-pointer and JP Pietersen dotting down following sustained pressure on the Hurricanes' line for a converted try.
Suddenly at 25-13 the South Africans looked back in the hunt, but their reprieve didn't last long.
First Hurricanes skipper Conrad Smith chased a Perenara grubber kick to score in the corner – picking up his team's bonus-point try in the process. But questions were raised whether Smith managed to put downward pressure on the ball.
Barrett pushed the kick wide to keep the score at 30-13, before another turnover lead to a Barrett bust and a superb chip and chase try to inside centre Tim Bateman. The conversion attempt was charged down to leave the hosts with a 35-13 lead.
A try to Sharks' hooker Craig Burdon gave the Sharks some hope of gaining at least a bonus point, but a last-minute try to replacment lock Jeremy Thursh put the icing on the cake for the Hurricanes.
Tries: Taylor, Lam, Savea, Smith, Bateman, Thrush
Cons: Barrett 3
Pens: Barrett 2
Tries: Pietersen, Burden
Pens: Michalak 2
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 James Broadhurst, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Jack Lam, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Charlie Ngatai.
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Jandre Marais, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements:16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Marius Joubert/Paul Jordaan.
Referee: Glen Jackson