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Hurricanes shatter Bulls' tour dream

31st March 2007 08:26

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Hurricanes shatter Bulls' tour dream

Celebration time for the Hurricanes

The Hurricanes shattered the Bulls' hope of ending their historic Australasian tour on a winning note when they beat the South African franchise 17-9 in a scrappy Super 14 match at the Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

It was not a great game but one which the Hurricanes thoroughly deserved to win for they were the ones with lightness and creativity while the Bulls plodded on with their studied slowness.

It was indeed a deserved victory for the home side, but unfortunately another match in which match officials had an unhealthy influence on the flow and maybe even outcome of the game.

The Hurricanes handled better, won the tackle/ruck and kicked far, far better than the Bulls who ended the match with a significant whimper.

The siren had gone but there was the chance of a bonus point and they ran the ball - clumsily but actually passing till it reached Marius Delport on the right wing and he tried to kick. He sort of kicked and the ball plopped off the side of his boot into touch and the final whistle came as a mercy killing for the visitors.

The visitors also ended the match with 14 men after replacement lock François van Schouwenburg was sent to the sin bin, allegedly for punching - an invisible punch if there was one.

The Hurricanes had five players key to their victory - Piri Weepu at first five-eighth whose ability to vary the game was crucial, Cory Jane at fullback, Jerry Collins, lock Jason Eaton and Rodney So'oialo at No.8. They were the architects of the victory.

There was just one try in the match, an excellent one and not really any sign of another thought her Hurricanes looked much more likely to score one. Even when the Bulls were a metre from the Hurricanes' line they did not look like scoring a try.

The Hurricanes started sharper and ended sharper than their opponents. They started going wide but later found their most profitable course through the midfield.

When Bakkies Botha went off-side, Weepu goaled. When Gary Botha was penalised at a tackle, Weepu goaled again. 6-0.

In between the Bulls had a five-metre line-out which they seemed to want to maul, but the Hurricanes coped with it easily, as they did with other attempted mauls, usually a potent weapon for the Bulls.

Neemia Tialata was penalised at a tackle and Hougaard goaled. Then Weepu goaled twice for infringements by Wikus van Heerden and, again, Gary Botha. That made it 12-3. The fourth one came with the Bulls trying to attack but a gross knock-on by Frikkie Welsh set the Hurricanes on the counterattack and a position for their next penalty.

When Tialata tackled high Hougaard made it 12-6, the half-time score.

The Bulls, who lacked calmness in this match, attacked after a five-metre line-out and Anton Leonard as close as his side ever did in the match, but the Hurricanes were penalised and Hougaard made it 12-9.

The Hurricanes attacked at various angles but eventually Bryan Habana and Jaco van der Westhuysen tackled tall Paul Tito out at the corner.

For the second time, deep in his own territory, Weepu grubbered. Habana got their first but did not control the ball. Weepu picked up and the next thing Jane was speeding down the right sending the defenders spinning as he wove will he gave the cleverest, sweetest pass to Hosea Gear who was over in the right corner.

This was the end of the match's scoring with 17 minutes to play.

When Fourie du Preez broke on the blind from the maul and gave to Habana who gave back to him, the Bulls had a golden chance but Du Preez was held up at the line. Twice in that movement Jane brought off try-saving tackles.

It was the end of the Bulls' efforts to score a try. They then seemed to settle back and wait to catch the flight home.

Man of the Match: We have mentioned the Big Five who did it and of them we choose as man of the Match Cory Jane of the Hurricanes, the most exciting player in a drab match, who made a try and saved another.

The scorers:

For the Hurricanes:

Try: Gear

Pens: Weepu 4

For the Bulls:

Pens: Hougaard 3

Yellow card: Francois van Schouwenburg (Bulls, 74 - foul play, punching)

Teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Shannon Paku, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Piri Weepu, 9 Alby Mathewson; 8 Rodney So'oialo (c), 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Paul Tito, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger

Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Brad Mika, 19 Luke Andrews, 20 Jimmy Gopperth, 21 David Smith, 22 Tamati Ellison

Bulls: 15 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 14 Marius Delport, 13 Frikkie Welsh, 12 Wayne Julies, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Hilton Lobberts, 6 Danie Rossouw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Rayno Gerber, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.

Replacements: 16 Jaco Engels, 17 Danie Thiart, 18 Francois van Schouwenburg, 19 Wikus van Heerden, 20 Heinie Adams, 21 Morné Steyn, 22 Derick Kuün

Referee: Brett Bowden (Australia)

Touch judges: James Leckie (Australia), Gary Wise (New Zealand)

Television match official: Brent Murray (New Zealand)

Assessor: Stuart Beissel (New Zealand), Dennis Immelman (South Africa)

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